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Low-frequency (40 Hz) sound vibrations reduce Alzheimer’s symptoms in mouse models

May. 22, 2023.
1 min. read. . 0

Also safe and effective for humans, say MIT scientists

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Amara Angelica

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Amara Angelica is Senior Editor of Mindplex.

Reductions in phosphorylated tau (magenta) in primary somatosensory cortical neurons in Tau P301S model mice treated with 40 Hz tactile stimulation (right). An image from an untreated control is on the left. (credit: Tsai Lab/MIT Picower Institute)

In recent research, MIT scientists exposed Alzheimer’s model mice to 40 Hz sound vibration one hour a day for several weeks. The mice showed improved brain health and motor function, compared to control-group (untreated) mice, the scientists found.

The MIT group showed that the stimulation can also reduce levels of hallmark Alzheimer’s protein phosphorylated tau. This was the first study to keep neurons from dying or losing their synapse circuit connections and to reduce neural DNA damage.

“This work demonstrates a third sensory modality that we can use to increase gamma power in the brain,” said Li-Huei Tsai, corresponding author of the study, director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the Aging Brain Initiative at MIT, and Picower Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS).

Safe and effective for humans

Recently, in pilot clinical studies the team showed that 40 Hz light and sound stimulation was safe, successfully increased brain activity and connectivity and appeared to produce significant clinical benefits in a small cohort of human volunteers with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Other groups have replicated and corroborated health benefits of 40 Hz sensory stimulation. And an MIT spin-off company, Cognito Therapeutics, has launched stage III clinical trials of light and sound stimulation as an Alzheimer’s treatment.

Citation: Suk, H., Buie, N., Xu, G., Banerjee, A., Boyden, E. S., & Tsai, L. (2023). Vibrotactile stimulation at gamma frequency mitigates pathology related to neurodegeneration and improves motor function. Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, 15. (open-access)

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