Combination of Light and Sound Therapy may do Wonders for Alzheimer’s Patients

According to a new research innovative light and sound stimulation therapy can clean poisonous plaque development in the brain and also has the capability to diminish some of the manifestations of Alzheimer’s disease and impaired cognitive functioning.

Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain by producing beta-amyloid plaques and the amalgamation of tau, a harmful protein that disrupts the right functioning of neural networks. Ongoing research has suggested that individuals with this type of cognitive weakness also experience brain wave disruptions.

Neurons (brain cells) produce electrical oscillations of various frequencies, which are classified as “brain waves.” Research has shown that in Alzheimer’s disease, individuals experience a disruption in the activity example of gamma waves, the brain waves with the highest frequency.

A group of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge has been revealing the proof that particular types of light stimulation can reestablish the balance of gamma waves and decrease the collection of beta-amyloid in mouse models of Alzheimer’s.

The same group, working under the direction of MIT Prof. Li-Huei Tsai, has discovered that light and sound therapy together shows a positive impact in improving cognitive functioning in these mouse models.

Empowered by these findings, the researchers are now arranging a clinical trial to test the effects of this novel therapy in humans with this neurodegenerative condition. The research is published in the journal Cell.

Auditory stimulation brings benefits

In their previous study, Prof. Tsai and colleagues used a light stimulation treatment, which included exposing mouse models to lights glimmering at 40 Hertz for 1 hour of the day.

By then, the researchers found that this noninvasive methodology diminished levels of both beta-amyloid plaques and phosphorylated tau proteins in the mice brains.

Also, the group observed that the light stimulation boosted the movement of microglia, a kind of neural cell that plays a job in the invulnerable response and works by clearing up cell debris.

This previous research just focused on the changes to the brain’s visual cortex. In this study, the scientists chose to go one step further and tried to treat other brain regions that are associated with memory and learning processes by using sound stimulation to rebalance gamma brain waves.

Thus, they felt free to expose mice to 40 Hertz sounds for 1 hour daily for 7 consecutive days. This auditory stimulation had the impact of lessening beta-amyloid levels in the auditory cortex as well as in the hippocampus, a brain district that plays a key job in processing and reviewing memories.

“What we have demonstrated here is that we can use a totally different sensory modality to induce gamma oscillations in the brain,” says Prof. Tsai.

“And secondly,” she adds, “this auditory-stimulation-induced gamma can reduce amyloid and Tau pathology in not just the sensory cortex but also in the hippocampus.”

When the researchers analyzed the impact of this sound stimulation treatment on the mice cognitive abilities, they found that the mice’s memories had improved and that they performed much better on a test that expected them to discover out of a labyrinth by reviewing landmarks.

In addition to this, the memory of mice all over improved, they now had the ability to recognize those things which they were exposed to previously.

Joined methodology yields the best results

In terms of its physiological effect, the auditory stimulation activated microglial movement as well as affected blood vessels and blood circulation pathway. This, the researchers hypothesize, could help further decrease the levels of lethal proteins in the brain.

Spurred on by these findings, the group consolidated light and sound stimulation therapy and was pleasantly surprised to find that this treatment had a surprisingly better impact.

The researchers found that the mixed approach prompted the disposal of beta-amyloid plaques in more brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex, which is essential to higher-request cognitive functioning.

Also, it offered a progressively intense boost to the microglial movement. “These microglia just pile on top of one another around the plaques,” notes Prof. Tsai, calling the impact “very dramatic.”

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, says Prof. Li-Huei Tsai.”

The group also discovered that if in case they break on the treatment after the first week, its positive effects would blur away within 1 week, which suggests that specialists may need to administer this therapy continuously.

Prof. Tsai and colleagues have just continued to ascertain that the new blend therapy is safe in humans, and they are at present enlisting participants with beginning period forms of Alzheimer’s in a clinical trial that they have designed to assess the treatment’s impact on individuals.

Adeena Tariq

Adeena's professional life has been mostly in hospital management, while studying international business in college. Of course, she now covers topics for us in health.

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