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Brain wave stimulation may improve Alzheimer's symptoms

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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. "When we combine visual and auditory stimulation for a week, we see the engagement of the prefrontal cortex and a very dramatic reduction of amyloid," says Li-Huei Tsai, director of MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory and the senior author of the study. Further study will be needed, she says, to determine if this type of treatment will work in human patients.


Light and sound therapy could stall Alzheimer's symptoms, study finds - as human trials begin

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Alzheimer's disease could be treated by combining light and sound therapy, according to new research. The study showed that the non-invasive treatments boosted memory by destroying rogue proteins in the brains of mice. The molecules, known as beta amyloid, gather into plaques devouring neurons - triggering devastating symptoms of confusion. Scientists are hopeful the approach, which works by inducing brain waves known as gamma oscillations, will be just as effective in humans. Mice with Alzheimer's remained stable, with no progression of symptoms for a time, after light and sound therapy to stimulate their brains.


Flickering lights may illuminate a path to Alzheimer's treatment

Los Angeles Times

New research demonstrates that, in mice whose brains are under attack by Alzheimer's dementia, exposure to lights that flicker at a precise frequency can right the brain's faulty signaling and energize its immune cells to fight off the disease. Light therapy for Alzheimer's is miles from being ready to treat patients -- even those with the earliest signs of the disease. But the new research has already prompted creation of a start-up company -- Cognito Therapeutics Inc. -- to approach the Food and Drug Administration about clinical trials, and to explore ways to deliver precisely calibrated flickers of light to human research subjects. Even if the new research does not yield a treatment for Alzheimer's, it is expected to deepen understanding of a key player in the disease -- the brain's dedicated immune system -- and point to ways it can be used to fight the disease. In 2016, 5.4 million Americans are believed to have Alzheimer's, which causes progressive loss of memory and cognitive function.


Alzheimer's may be able to spread through blood transfusions

New Scientist

Can you catch Alzheimer's disease? Fear has been growing that the illness might be capable of spreading via blood transfusions and surgical equipment, but it has been hard to find any evidence of this happening. Now a study has found that an Alzheimer's protein can spread between mice that share a blood supply, causing brain degeneration, and suggesting that the disease may transmissible in a similar way to Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD). We already know from CJD that misfolded proteins can spread brain diseases. Variant CJD can spread through meat products or blood transfusions infected with so-called prion proteins, for example.


Alzheimer's may be able to spread through blood transfusions

New Scientist

Can you catch Alzheimer's disease? Fear has been growing that the illness might be capable of spreading via blood transfusions and surgical equipment, but it has been hard to find any evidence of this happening. Now a study has found that an Alzheimer's protein can spread between mice that share a blood supply, causing brain degeneration. We already know from prion diseases like Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD) that misfolded proteins can spread brain diseases. Variant CJD can spread through meat products or blood transfusions infected with so-called prion proteins, for example.