Alzheimer's disease was treated according to new research results by combining light and sound therapy.
The study showed that non-invasive treatments enhanced memory by destroying rogue proteins in the brain of mice.
The molecules, known as beta-amyloid, assemble into plaques that consume neurons – triggering devastating symptoms of confusion.
Scientists hope that the approach that works by producing brainwaves, called gamma oscillations, will be just as effective in humans.
Alzheimer's disease mice remained stable for some time after light and sound therapy to stimulate their brain without the symptoms progressing. Human studies are already under way
Patients with early-stage Alzheimer's disease are already enrolled for the first clinical trial of this type.
Experiments have shown that laboratory animals have the ability to develop genetically manipulated mental health problems that resemble those with dementia.
Both visual and auditory therapies resulted in improvements when used alone – but the results were even better when administered together.
The results published in the journal Cell could revolutionize the treatment of dementia.  The leading author Li-Huei Tsai from the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said, "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. "
It's at the front of the brain, controlling the executive function – a set of mental abilities that help us get things done. In Alzheimer's, this is one of the first things that still exist.
Plaques have been removed in large areas of gray matter, including areas important for learning and memory.
Your team has pre-tested this type of stimulation in healthy people and showed that they are safe.
The next step is the clinical trial to see if the technique brings similar benefits to patients.
Dr. Tsai said she is now beginning to recruit Alzheimer's patients for dual visual and auditory care.
Alzheimer's brain waves are disturbed, but mice were exposed to both light and sound treatments, allowing the neurons to fire normally.
The cells generate electrical signals in different frequency ranges. Previous studies have shown that Alzheimer's patients have impairments to their gamma-frequency oscillations.
These can range from 25 to 80 hertz or cycles per second and are believed to contribute to mental functions such as attention, perception, and memory. [19659002ForyearsagotheDrTsteamhasdiscoveredthatthebeneficialeffectsofrestoringgammaoscillationsinthebrainofmouseendogenesishavebeendevelopedintoanAlzheimer'srodentform
In this study, researchers used 40-per-second flickering at 40 hertz for one hour per day.
They found that these levels of beta-amyloid plaques and another protein tau that can cause Alzheimer's are reduced by complications.
The treatment also stimulated the activity of immune cells, called microglia, of undesirable residue from the gray matter.
However, these improvements were limited to the visual cortex. The latest study published in Cell revealed that one hour of 40-hourtones were exposed daily for seven days, dramatically reducing the amount of beta-amyloid in the auditory cortex, processing the sound.
And the hippocampus had the same effect, an important memory site near the auditory cortex.
Amyloid plaque is one of the hallmarks of currently incurable Alzheimer's disease. It is believed that the sticky structure leads to progressive destruction of neurons and dementia.
Dr. Tsai, founding member of MIT's Aging Brain Initiative, said, "We have shown here that we can use a completely different sensory modality to induce gamma oscillations in the brain.
& # 39; Secondly, this auditory gamma-induced gamma can reduce amyloid and tau pathology not only in the sensory cortex but also in the hippocampus. & # 39;
The researchers also pointed out After a week, the mice were much better at navigating a maze, so they had to memorize important landmarks. They were also able to better recognize objects that they had encountered before.
Sound therapy has changed not only microglia but also blood vessels, possibly facilitating amyloid clearance.
The researchers decided to combine visual and auditory stimulation, and to their surprise, it turned out that the dual treatment had an even greater impact than either alone.
The amyloid plaques were reduced in a much larger part of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, where higher cognitive functions play a role. The microglial reaction was also much stronger.
Dr. Tsai said, "These microglia just pile around the plaques. It is very dramatic.
But if they treated the mice for a week and then waited another week to run the tests, many of the positive effects had faded.
This suggests that the treatment would have to be done continuously maintaining the benefits.
In an ongoing study, researchers are now analyzing how gamma oscillations affect certain brain cell types in the hope of discovering the molecular mechanisms behind the observed phenomena.
Dr. Tsai hopes to explore Why does the specific frequency they use, 40 Hertz, have such a profound effect.