Light and sound therapy may boost brain function

New research in mice reveals that an innovative light and sound stimulation therapy can clear toxic plaque buildup in the brain and reduce some of the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease and impaired cognitive functioning.

A light and sound combination therapy could fight off Alzheimer's symptoms.

The hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease in the brain include the formation of beta-amyloid plaques and the amalgamation of tau, a toxic protein that disrupts the correct functioning of neural networks.

Recent research has suggested that people with this form of cognitive impairment also experience brain wave disruptions.

Neurons (brain cells) produce electrical oscillations of various frequencies, which are called "brain waves."

Research has shown that in Alzheimer's disease, individuals experience a disruption in the activity pattern of gamma waves, the brain waves with the highest frequency.

In recent years, a team of scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge has been uncovering evidence that certain types of light stimulation can reestablish the equilibrium of gamma waves and reduce the accumulation of beta-amyloid in mouse models of Alzheimer's.

Now, the same team, working under the guidance of MIT Prof. Li-Huei Tsai, has found that a combination of light and sound therapy can have a significant effect in improving cognitive functioning in these mouse models.

Encouraged by these findings, which appear in the journal Cell, the researchers are now organizing a clinical trial to test the effects of this novel therapy in humans with this neurodegenerative condition.