By exposing mice to a unique combination of light and sound, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can improve cognitive and memory impairments similar to those seen in Alzheimer's patients.
This noninvasive treatment, which works by inducing brain waves known as gamma oscillations, also greatly reduced the number of amyloid plaques found in the brains of these mice. Plaques were cleared in large swaths of the brain, including areas critical for cognitive functions such as learning and memory.
I'm relatively skeptical that this will work as well in humans as in their mouse model, but, who knows ...
The paywalled Cell paper is at:
Multi-sensory Gamma Stimulation Ameliorates Alzheimer’s-Associated Pathology and Improves Cognition
Published: March 14, 2019
- Auditory gamma entrainment using sensory stimuli (GENUS) boosts hippocampal function
- GENUS affects microglia, astrocytes, and vasculature in auditory cortex and hippocampus
- Auditory plus visual GENUS induces microglia clustering around plaques
- Auditory plus visual GENUS reduces amyloid pathology throughout neocortex
We previously reported that inducing gamma oscillations with a non-invasive light flicker (gamma entrainment using sensory stimulus or GENUS) impacted pathology in the visual cortex of Alzheimer’s disease mouse models. Here, we designed auditory tone stimulation that drove gamma frequency neural activity in auditory cortex (AC) and hippocampal CA1. Seven days of auditory GENUS improved spatial and recognition memory and reduced amyloid in AC and hippocampus of 5XFAD mice. Changes in activation responses were evident in microglia, astrocytes, and vasculature. Auditory GENUS also reduced phosphorylated tau in the P301S tauopathy model. Furthermore, combined auditory and visual GENUS, but not either alone, produced microglial-clustering responses, and decreased amyloid in medial prefrontal cortex. Whole brain analysis using SHIELD revealed widespread reduction of amyloid plaques throughout neocortex after multi-sensory GENUS. Thus, GENUS can be achieved through multiple sensory modalities with wide-ranging effects across multiple brain areas to improve cognitive function.