Neuroscientists have removed Alzheimer's plaques from mouse brains by using only light and sound. Is that really possible? We explain it.
MIT-led research has found that flashlamps and a low, buzzing sound reproduce brainwaves that are lost in the disease, and then remove the accumulation of harmful proteins that surround the brains of mice with Alzheimer's-like behavior
The non-invasive procedure improved the cognitive and memory function of the mice. After a week of treatment, the mice were much better able to navigate a maze by remembering landmarks.
Mice and human brainwaves work differently The process has not been tested on humans yet, but the results are promising as Alzheimer's may be treated in a cheap and drug-free manner.
The research was based on a previous study in which mice with Alzheimer's disease were treated by having light flashed into their eyes 40 times per second, treating their illness. In the current study, the sound was added and the results drastically improved.
"When we combine visual and auditory stimulation for a week, we see the involvement of the prefrontal cortex and a very dramatic reduction in amyloid." senior author Li-Huei Tsai said:
Alzheimer's Disease bothers how the brain's neurons information Processing and communicating leads to loss of function and cell death. In the brain of Alzheimer's, high levels of protein clump together to form plaques that interfere with the function of neurons.
Earlier studies looked at the role that sound can play in purifying the brain of tau and amyloid proteins that contribute to the disease. The microglia of the nervous system, which cleanse waste, are stimulated by the treatment.
When the mice only heard one humming sound every day for one week, amyloid accumulation decreased and the microglial cells became more stimulated cells.
The latest study, which combined the two treatments, showed a dramatic increase in plaque clearing across the brain, including the Areas for cognitive functions such as learning and memory.
"These microglia simply pile around the plaques," says Tsai.
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