Scientists use sound & light to trigger brain waves in innovative approach to treat Alzheimer’s

Oscillations may facilitate recovery

A recent study by MIT found a low-pitched buzz-like sound and strobe lights can be used to replicate brain waves impeded by Alzheimer’s, which improved cognitive function and helped remove plaque in mice displaying symptoms of the disease. The approach hasn’t been tested in humans yet, but if it’s possible to copy these results, it might turn into a drug-free, inexpensive way to treat this condition.

The study in question follows up on a previous one, which showed that flashing light and playing sound 40 times a second into the eyes of mice with Alzheimer’s, improved their condition. According to MIT researcher Li-Huei Tsai, there is substantial reduction of amyloid protein and increased prefrontal cortex engagement when visual and auditory stimulation is combined over a period of one week. The prefrontal cortex is the part of the brain most active in cognitive functions.

The researcher adds it is necessary to find a way to check if this treatment will work for humans. One issue with the effect is that it is limited to visual parts of the brain, bypassing important zones that play key roles in memory formation and retrieval.

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