Alzheimer's disease could be treated by combining light and healthy therapy, according to new research.
The study showed that non-invasive treatments increased memory by destroying rogue proteins in the brains of mice.
Molecules, known as amyloid beta, come together in plaques that devour neurons – triggering devastating symptoms of confusion
Scientists hope that the approach, which induces brain waves known as gamma oscillations, will be equally effective in humans.
Mice with Alzheimer's disease remained stable, with no progression of symptoms for a while, after a light and healthy therapy to stimulate their brains. Studies on men are underway
Patients with early-stage Alzheimer's have already been enrolled for the first clinical trial of this type.
The experiments found that the capabilities of genetically modified laboratory animals increased to develop mental problems similar to those seen in people with dementia.
Both visual and auditory therapies led to improvements if applied individually, but the results were even better when given together.
The results, published in the journal Cell, could revolutionize the treatment of dementia.  Senior author Li-Huei Tsai, of the Picower Institute for Learning and Remembrance at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said: "When we combine visual and auditory stimuli for a week, we see the commitment of the prefrontal cortex and a very dramatic reduction of amyloid.
It is located in the front of the brain and controls executive function – a series of mental abilities that help us do things. # 39 Alzheimer, one of the first things to do.
The plates were erased in large areas of gray matter, including vital areas for learning and memory.
His team performed preliminary tests of this type of stimulation in healthy humans
The next step is the clinical trial to see if the technique produces similar benefits for patients.
Dr. Tsai said he is starting to recruit Alzheimer's patients for double visual treatment and auditory.
The causes of Alzheimer's disease are interrupted, but the exposure of mice to both light and acoustic treatments has encouraged neurons to start shooting again normally.
The cells generate electrical signals in different frequency ranges. Previous studies have suggested that Alzheimer's patients have alterations in their gamma-frequency oscillations.
These can be from 25 to 80 hertz, or cycles per second, and are believed to contribute to mental functions such as attention, perception and memory.  Three years ago the team of dr. Tsai discovered the beneficial effects of restoring gamma oscillations in the brains of genetically modified mice to develop a form of Alzheimer's rodent.
In this study, researchers used light flicker at 40 hertz, 40 times per second, delivered for an hour a day.
They found this reduced level of beta amyloid plaques and another tau protein that can cause Alzheimer's to develop into tangles.
The treatment has also stimulated the activity of the immune cells called microglia which clear up unwanted debris from the gray matter.
But these improvements were limited to the visual cortex. The latest study published on Cell found a 40-hour daily exposure of Hertz, for seven days drastically reduced the amount of beta-amyloid in the auditory cortex, which processes the sound.
E had the same effect on the hippocampus, a key memory site located near the auditory cortex.
Amyloid plaque is one of the characteristics of currently incurable Alzheimer's disease. It is thought that the sticky buildup leads to the progressive destruction of neurons – and dementia.
The dott. Tsai, a founding member of the MIT brain initiative, said: "What we have shown here is that we can use a completely different sensory modality to induce gamma oscillations in the brain.
" And secondly, this range induced by auditory stimulation can reduce amyloid and tau pathology not only in the sensory cortex but also in the hippocampus. "
The researchers also showed after a week of treatment the mice behaved much better during the navigation in a a labyrinth that required remembering key points, and they were better at recognizing the objects they had previously encountered.
Sound therapy also induced changes not only in microglia but also in blood vessels, perhaps facilitating the clearance of the # 39; amyloid.
The researchers then decided to try combining visual and auditory stimulation and, to their surprise, the double stroke. has had an even greater effect than that of just one.
Amyloid plaques have been reduced in a much larger portion of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, where higher cognitive functions take place. The response to microglia was also much stronger.
The dott. Tsai said: "These microglia accumulate one on the other around the plates. It is very dramatic."
But if they treated the mice for a week, then they waited another week for performing the tests, many of the positive effects had faded.
This suggests that treatment should be given continuously to
In an ongoing study, researchers are now analyzing how gamma oscillations affect specific types of brain cells, in the hope of discovering the molecular mechanisms behind the phenomena who have observed.
The dott. Tsai also hopes to explore why the specific frequency they use, 40 hertz, has such a profound impact.