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Inner Workings: A pulse of hope in the fight against Alzheimer’s

Published on Oct 07,2020 | By PNAS

This is an excellent review of the latest developments in the 40Hz brain stimulation research. Tsai and her team have shown that inputs of gamma waves boost the activity of immune cells in the brain called microglia that clear amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Oscillating light and sound waves also increased blood flow, improved the survival and health of the animals’ neurons, and bolstered their connectivity across brain regions. “All of these effects converge to reduce cognitive impairment and pathology,” Tsai says.

Gamma Visual Stimulation Induces a Neuroimmune Signaling Profile Distinct from Acute Neuroinflammation

Published on Aug 12,2020 | By The Journal of Neuroscience

Exposure to light pulsing at 40 flashes per second causes brains to release a surge of signaling chemicals — small proteins called cytokines and secreted externally by cells. Increase in cytokines was seen after an hour of stimulation. The new study connects the light flicker with glial and other immune activation.

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Flickering light mobilizes brain chemistry that may fight Alzheimer’s

Published on Aug 06,2020 | By The Journal of Neuroscience

Researchers discovered that the exposure to light pulsing at 40 flashes per second—causes brains to release a surge of signaling chemicals — small proteins called cytokines and secreted externally by cells. Increase in cytokines was seen after an hour of stimulation. The new study connects the light flicker with glial and other immune activation.

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Researchers’ analysis confirms effects of cognitive training for older adults

Published on Aug 06,2020 | By Journal of Psychology and Aging

Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas’ Center for Vital Longevity (CVL) conducted a large-scale analysis of the benefits of multiple training types for individuals who are aging healthily, as well as those with mild cognitive impairment.
“Though healthy participants showed more robust cognitive improvements than those with mild cognitive impairments, there was widespread improvement across all groups,” Basak said. “One key finding was that cognitive training was found to significantly improve everyday functioning in older adults, which in turn can provide additional years of independence and potentially delay the onset of dementia.”

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Spreading the Word on a Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment

Published on Aug 06,2020 | By Quanta Magazine

Discoveries that transcend boundaries are among the greatest delights of scientific research, but such leaps are often overlooked because they outstrip conventional thinking. Take, for example, a new discovery for treating dementia that defies received wisdom by combining two formerly unrelated areas of research: brain waves and the brain’s immune cells, called microglia… – This article is a great summary of research findings written for non-scientists.

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A Possible Alzheimer’s Treatment With Clicks and Flashes? It Worked on Mice

Published on Mar 14,2019 | By NY Times

Could people’s eyes and ears help fix the damage Alzheimer’s disease does to the brain? Just by looking at flashing light and listening to flickering sound?
A new study led by a prominent M.I.T. neuroscientist offers tantalizing promise. It found that when mice engineered to exhibit Alzheimer’s-like qualities were exposed to strobe lights and clicking sounds, important brain functions improved and toxic levels of Alzheimer’s-related proteins diminished.

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Multi-sensory Gamma Stimulation Ameliorates Alzheimer’s-Associated Pathology and Improves Cognition

Published on Mar 14,2019 | By Cell

Scientists found that when mice engineered to exhibit Alzheimer’s-like qualities were exposed to flickering lights and 40Hz sounds for one hour a day, their brain functions improved and toxic levels of Alzheimer’s-related proteins diminished. In addition, the 40Hz sound appeared to improve cognitive and memory skills.
Light and sound delivered at a certain frequency —40 flashes or clicks per second — appear to restart the natural 40Hz gamma rhythm of the brain, which is disrupted in patients with Alzheimer’s. This gamma rhythm is essential for local neuronal communication and is associated with concentration and cognitive activity. Neurons in the cortex usually work in groups and are a bit analogous to a musical orchestra. When music instruments synchronize we hear a pleasant melody, but when they desynchronize we hear a cacophony of sounds a little like the tuning up of an orchestra. Similarly, when there is no normal brain rhythm, neurons fire out of sync and cannot generate coherent group decisions.
The improved 40Hz brain gamma waves appear to increase activation of immune cells that became more efficient at chewing up the harmful proteins that form plaques and tangles in Alzheimer’s brain. The 40Hz sound also improved brain blood vessels, further helping clear the toxic proteins. Most importantly, these combined effects of light and sound extended to the prefrontal cortex, which probably explains significant improvement of the cognitive functions.
Experiments also showed that without the light or sound stimulation, results faded in about a week, indicating that Alzheimer’s patients might need to be treated regularly.

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New brain training app improves memories of people with early-stage Dementia

Published on Jul 03,2017 | By The Independent

A brain training computer game developed by British neuroscientists has been shown to improve the memory of patients in the very earliest stages of dementia and could help such patients avert some symptoms of cognitive decline.

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Researchers use LEDs to attack Alzheimer’s

Published on Dec 07,2016 | By Boston Globe

Experimental drugs from some of the world’s top pharmaceutical companies have so far failed to halt the march of Alzheimer’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder that gradually robs people of their memory and cognition.

Now scientists are trying an audacious approach that doesn’t involve medicines of any kind: They’re using LED beams to disrupt gamma waves in the brains of lab mice, hoping to reduce the buildup of beta amyloid plaque — a substance widely thought to contribute to Alzheimer’s.

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Toward Treating Alzheimer’s Disease with Brain Waves

Published on Dec 07,2016 | By The Scientist

When brain cells fire rhythmically and in sync, they produce waves, which are categorized by their firing frequencies. Delta waves (1.5 Hz to 4 Hz), for example, are produced during deep sleep, theta waves (4 Hz to 12 Hz) occur during running and deep meditation, and gamma waves (25 Hz to 100 Hz) are associated with excitement and concentration. Disruption of gamma waves could be a key contributor to Alzheimer’s disease pathology, according to a mouse study published today (December 7) in Nature. And the restoration of these waves, researchers propose, may one day be an option for Alzheimer’s disease treatment.

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