What are the Goals of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation?
Shockwaves in Use for the Treatment of Neurodegenerative Diseases
ranscranial pulse stimulation (TPS) is a physical-technical therapy method from the field of shock wave medicine, the functional mechanisms of which have been researched for application in neurology and psychiatry for more than 30 years. After the successful establishment of shock waves in orthopaedics, cardiology, dermatology, pain therapy and traumatology, the option of shock wave therapy in the form of transcranial pulse stimulation in neurology and psychiatry is in a promising evaluation phase.
Working mechanisms of shockwaves: Basic research reveals broad field of application
Shock waves are sound waves or mechanical-acoustic pressure pulses that cover the entire spectrum from inaudible infrasound to audible sound and inaudible ultrasound. In order to generate shock waves for medical applications, the physical principle of electromagnetic induction is used in addition to electrohydraulic and piezoelectric methods. Over the decades, a large number of studies have shown that shock wave applications in various areas of medical use often lead to improved blood circulation and an increase in metabolism, which can trigger or activate numerous endogenous regeneration and healing processes.
Potential of shock waves in neurophysiological diseases
Through the stimulating effect of shock waves on cell membranes, which can be excited both electrically and mechanically, short-term membrane changes can be induced on brain cells, which are intended to locally alter the concentration of neurotransmitters and other biochemical substances. In particular, neurons can be stimulated to emit action potentials by short mechanical pulses. According to the scientific postulation, this can stimulate ion channels and promote an increase in blood vessels (neoangiogenesis), which can lead to a better supply of brain tissue. Nitric oxide (NO) is also said to be released, which can lead to an increase in blood flow. In the studies, investigations and application observations on transcranial pulse stimulation to date, it has been shown that the intervention of TPS pulses in the brain can lead to the activation or regeneration of neurons. In addition, the formation of new synaptic networks can be supported, which can compensate for diseased brain functions and make it possible to significantly improve brain performance. Neuroplasticity and neurogenesis can also be supported in this way. Finally, studies have already shown that brain morphology is changed and that the cortical atrophy (tissue loss in the brain) typical of Alzheimer’s dementia, for example, can be slowed down by TPS.
First goal of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation: Improved quality of life thanks to Neuromodulation
The first goal of transcranial pulse stimulation (TPS) in Alzheimer’s dementia therapy is to slow down the course of the disease, possibly even to stop it, and to improve the brain’s performance. The results of previous clinical studies and the high number of outpatients treated over the past three years show that this can be achieved.
The second goal of TPS therapy is the general improvement of the quality of life of those affected and thus also of their relatives and their social environment. Clinical studies and practical experience to date have shown that many patients are able to be more independent and active again: Many patients are able to participate more independently and actively in life again, they are physically and mentally fitter, any anxiety and depression are significantly alleviated, disorientation and word-finding disorders decrease significantly. In some cases, some patients have even been able to return to work.
The third goal of Transcranial Pulse Stimulation is to support the effectiveness of drug treatment and other accompanying measures such as cognitive training or occupational therapy and to improve their results through the synergistic effects thus created.
The fourth goal of the use of TPS therapy should be to relieve the burden on health care systems in the medium and long term. By halting the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s dementia and reducing the symptoms or maintaining the cognitive abilities of those affected for longer, TPS could reduce the need for care in the private environment as well as in inpatient care as part of multi-pillar therapy concepts.
Transcranial Pulse Stimulation (TPS) offers a promising, non-invasive option for the treatment of Alzheimer’s dementia and is likely to be used synergistically in the future for various other neurological and psychiatric disorders. TPS technology has the potential to play an important role in neuromodulation in the future, especially as it has almost no risks and only marginal potential and short-term side effects. In the coming years, it will be exciting to follow the progress in the field of research and science on transcranial pulse stimulation and to observe how TPS successively changes the field of possibilities for neuromodulation and the treatment of neurological and psychiatric diseases.