After decades of failed research, scientists are zeroing in on new methods to prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

Some of these treatments don’t involve pills or injections. At a South by Southwest panel in Austin, Texas, on Saturday, researchers suggested that virtual reality could help combat feelings of loneliness and social isolation.

Exposing people with Alzheimer’s to virtual reality could also trigger certain memories they once lost or help them recall specific senses, like the sound of a family member’s voice.

A study from the of University of Kent in the UK found that virtual reality could help people with dementia — the loss of memory, language, or reasoning skills often caused by Alzheimer’s — recall old memories.

“That sort of reminiscence, it doesn’t necessarily reverse dementia, but it can certainly slow the progression,” Allison Sekuler, vice president of research at Baycrest Health Sciences, said at the SXSW panel.

“It’s not just making people happy and less lonely,” she said, adding, “It’s actually helping the brain.”