Posted on Apr 03, 2019, 6 p.m.
Alzheimer’s causing plaques have been removed from mice brains using light and sound. Is this possible? Experimental mice studies suggests this very promising potential.
Strobe lights and low pitched buzzing sounds have been found to be able to recreate brain waves that are lost in the brain wasting disease, this then removed clumps of harmful proteins that build up around the brain of mice with AD like behaviours in MIT research.
This non-invasive procedure is suggested to have lead to the animal’s cognitive and memory functions improving; after only a week of treatments with the procedure the animals were observed to be far better able at navigating a maze by remembering landmarks.
Although mice and human brain waves work differently and this process has yet to be tested on humans, the findings are promising as a potential drug free, non-invasive, cheap way to treat Alzheimer’s disease.
This work was built upon a previous study wherein mice with AD were exposed with a flashing light 40 times per second into their eyes which treated their disease. In this study sound was added to the previous treatment which was found to have yielded dramatically improved results.
AD disrupts how the brain neurons process and communicate information resulting in loss of function and cell death. High levels of proteins clump together to form plaques that disrupt neuron function in AD brains.
Roles that sound may play in clearing the brain of tau and amyloid proteins contributing to Alzheimer’s disease have been looked at; the nervous system’s microglia that clean waste were stimulated by the treatment. After the mice listened to one hour of buzzing sounds every day for a week there was a decrease in amyloid build up and increased stimulation to microglial cells.
By combining the two treatments in this study there was dramatic improvements in increased plaque clearing across the brain including in areas for cognitive functions like learning and memory, according to the researchers.
Li-Huei Tsai says “...When visual and auditory stimulation were combined for a week, we saw engagement of the prefrontal cortex and a very dramatic reduction of amyloid.... These microglia just pile on top of one another around the plaques...”
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