Flashing lights and sounds were found by MIT scientists to reduce amyloid plaques in mice suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
This finding is notable as Alzheimer’s, at this time, has no cure. Only a few therapies that try to slow the progression are available.
By exposing mice to a unique combination of light and sound, MIT neuroscientists exposed mice to a unique combination of light and sound. This treatment improved cognitive ability and reversed memory deficits similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s patients.
Flashing Lights: Study Results
This noninvasive treatment, works by stimulating brain waves known as gamma oscillations.These oscillations significantly reduced the number of amyloid plaques found in the brains of these mice. Plaques were cleared in large areas of the brain, including areas critical for learning and memory.
In previous studies, light and sound therapy to the brain improved hippocampal function. The hippocampus is an area in the brain where memories are formed and stored. In addition, the hippocampus and neocortex are responsible for carrying out cognitive tasks.
They discovered that directings flashing lights for one hour, at a frequency of 40 cycles per second into the eyes and noises into the ears of mice with Alzheimer’s disease led to a marked decline in amyloid plaques in their brains.
What Are Amyloid Plaques?
Amyloid plaques are one of the main suspects triggering the development of Alzheimer’s disease. The plaques etch deep grooves into the brain and thereby hinder the transmission of information between neurons.
Studying the chemistry of the treated mouse brains, the researchers found a higher concentration of proteins that clean up the plaque material.
Currently, MIT scientists are performing in-human studies to evaluate the effectiveness of light flickers on Alzheimer’s patients. The researchers hope to get the same positive results and to possibly expand this therapy to other conditions.