Of all the conditions that affect the elderly, one of the hardest for family and medical providers to deal with is Alzheimer’s disease. This condition impairs memory to the point that some afflicted with the condition can’t remember their loved ones. MIT researchers have found a new potential treatment that has shown promise in testing.
MIT neuroscientists have exposed mice to a unique combination of light and sound and proven that the brain wave stimulation can improve cognitive and memory impairments in mice. The team says that the impairments they have treated in mice are similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s patients.
The treatment is non-invasive and works by inducing a type of brain wave called gamma oscillations. Researchers also found that the treatment “greatly reduced” the number of amyloid plaques found in the brains of mice in testing. Those plaques were cleared in large swaths of the brain, including in areas for cognitive function like learning and memory.
The team says that further study is needed to determine if the treatment will work in humans. Some preliminary safety testing of this type of stimulation has been conducted in healthy humans so far. Previous studies into Alzheimer’s has indicated that those suffering from the condition might have impairment in their gamma-frequency oscillations.
Those oscillations are believed to be important to brain function like attention, perception, and memory. In rodent testing, the team found that the benefits of the treatment faded within a week. This indicates that effective treatment might require continuous application to be beneficial.