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Posted on: March 27, 2019 at 9:08 pm

As science evolves, we are discovering more and more therapeutic techniques to conquer some of our most debilitating conditions.

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Research led by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is exploring the potential of strobe lights and low frequency sounds to recreate the brain waves lost in Alzheimer’s disease [1].

This technique of light and sound has been shown to clear harmful amyloid and tau proteins which interfere with healthy brain function. This approach is thought to trigger natural brain waves in order to help and fight the disease.

This therapy has not been clinically tested in human trials. However, this technique has been studied and found as effective in removing plaque and improving the cognitive function in mice, which have been engineered to display Alzheimer’s-like behavior[1] [2].

This research of light and sound therapy was based on a previous study utilizing just light. Mice with their version of Alzheimer’s disease were treated with a flashing strobe at 40 times per second. These researchers tracked a reduction in their levels of tau and amyloid proteins [3].

In the past, ultrasound waves were utilized for their higher pitched sound frequencies, this was found to also stimulate the brain vessels, which encouraged the microglia, our nervous system’s waste-removal experts, to pick up the pace.

When the team at MIT utilized light and a sound at a similar frequency of 40 hertz, the results were dramatically improved [4]. Exposure to this monotonous buzz and light for just an hour every day for a week has had a significant effect on their mouse subjects.

We are taking a huge step forward as we continue to discover new potential therapies and mechanisms for neurological disorders. While there will be some translation work to practice these modalities on the human brain, so far early testing for this light and sound therapy has no known side effects. While encouraging, the next logical step will be human trials, because until then the jury is out. As science evolves, hopefully, we can conquer some of our most debilitating conditions using our modern therapeutic techniques.

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