New research on mice suggests that an innovative sound and light stimulation therapy can help clear the harmful buildup of plaque associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Consequently, it can also aid is lessening some of the symptoms linked with impaired cognitive performance and Alzheimer’s disease.
What Happens To The Brain In Alzheimer’s disease?
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative brain ailment that affects more than 5 million individuals in the US alone. It surfaces when the toxic deposits of tau and beta-amyloid proteins collect in the brain.
Such toxic accumulates in the brain hamper the proper functioning of the neural networks in the brain. Research also highlights that people with such form of cognitive impairment also experience disruptions of their brain waves.
Essentially, brain waves are produced when the brain cells, medically referred to as neurons, generate electrical oscillations of different frequencies. Science says that when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease, folks experience obstruction in their gamma waves pattern. These are the brain waves with the highest frequency.
What Does The Latest Research Say?
A team of researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge have been learning that some types of light stimulation can help reestablish the gamma wave’s equilibrium.
As a result, it can reduce the collection of beta-amyloid proteins in the animal subjects with Alzheimer’s.
This same team of researchers headed by MIT Prof. Li-Huei Tsa have recently found that a combination of sound and light therapy can significantly impact the cognitive well-being in mouse models.
These findings are published in the journal Cell. Moreover, based on these findings researchers are planning a clinical trial to test the effects of their finding among humans with Alzheimer’s disease.
During the research, the light stimulation treatment revolved around exposing the mouse to lights flickering at 40 Hertz daily for an hour. Researchers learned that such an approach aided in lessening the levels of both phosphorylated tau proteins and beta-amyloid plaques in the rodents.
Furthermore, they noted that light stimulation enhanced the activity of microglia, neural cells which play a role in immune response while also working to clear up debris (waste) from cells.
The auditory stimulation also had a positive impact on blood circulation and vessels. Researchers hypothesize that this can help lessen the levels of toxic proteins.
Prof. Li-Huei explains these findings as, “When we combine visual and auditory stimulation for a week, we see the engagement of the prefrontal cortex and a very dramatic reduction of amyloid.”
There is one another interesting finding here. The team noted that if the treatment plan was hampered after the first week, its positive effects would fade within a week. This suggests that specialists may have to offer the therapy continuously.
Wrap Up Thoughts
While it is true that Alzheimer’s does not have a cure yet, science is striving hard to dig out a proper treatment plan for patients. With such findings on the horizon, there is hope that a possible solution will be unearthed in the future.