On Friday March 15 the New York Times ran an article by Pam Belluck that really caught my attention. It was titled “Could Lights and Sounds Help People with Alzheimer’s? They Worked in Mice”. As one with the disease, any article that posits a possible cure is certainly worth reading. A quote from the article is as follows “A new study led by an M.I.T neuroscientist (Li-Huei Tsai) 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. Wow-double Wow!!

The trick is that it’s not about any light or sound but is about certain frequencies -40 hertz or 40 flashes or clicks per second. At that level it appears to synchronize the rhythm of the brain’s gamma waves. It appears that the brains gamma waves are disrupted in patients with ALZ (sorry, I just get tired of writing out the whole nasty word).

In addition, another ALZ protein called tau, which forms tangles also decreased.

In the article, Dr. Lennart Mucke, director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease is quoted as saying “It’s stunning that the intervention had beneficial effects on so many different aspects of ALZ-like pathology”.

The article also notes that weekly stimulation is necessary as the positive effects subside after some time has passed. Finally the doctors noted they are ready to begin testing on humans with mild ALZ.

I’m guessing about 5 million Americans will be watching these studies very closely, I know I will.