Neuroscientists have removed the plaques caused by Alzheimer's disease from mice using only light and sound. Is it really possible? We explain
Research conducted by MIT has found that strobe lights and a low buzz can recreate brain waves lost in the disease, which remove the groups of harmful proteins that accumulate around the brains of mice with behaviors similar to those of Alzheimer's .
The non-invasive procedure has seen the cognitive and memory functions of mice improve. After a week of treatment, the mice were much more able to navigate a maze by remembering the landmarks.
Mice and human brain waves work differently, and the process has not yet been tested on humans, but the finding is promising as it could be a way to treat Alzheimer's in an economical and drug-free way.
Research built on a previous study in which mice with Alzheimer's were treated by flashing a light 40 times a second in their eyes, which treated their disease. In the present study, the sound was added and the results improved considerably.
"When we combine visual and auditory stimulation week, we see the commitment of the prefrontal cortex and a very dramatic reduction of the amyloid " senior author Li-Huei Tsai.
Alzheimer's disease disrupts the way the brain's neurons process and communicate information, and results in loss of function and cell death. In the Alzheimer's brain, high levels of protein aggregation form plaques that disrupt neuronal function.
Previous studies have examined the role that sound can play in clarifying the brain of tau and amyloid proteins that contribute to the disease. The microglia of the nervous system, which cleans the waste, is stimulated by the treatment.
When the mice listened to only one hour of buzzing a day for a week, there was a decrease in amyloid accumulation and increased microglial cell stimulation
The latest study combining the two treatments saw a dramatic increase in compensatory plaque through the brain, including areas for cognitive functions as the learning and memory.
"These microglia accumulate one on the other around the plates" says Tsai.
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