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Low-Hum Therapy Seems To Counteract Alzheimer’s Symptoms In Mice


In the past two years, scientists have made some successful achievements in fighting off the suspected cause of Alzheimer’s in mice without using drugs. The first recommended technology applied light pulses to changing brainwaves and at the moment scientists believe it can also be attained with sound waves.

A research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has let a group of mice be exposed to a hum at 40 Hertz , something like the lowest E on a piano and found that they develop half as many amyloid beta plaques in their auditory cortices and hippocampus in comparison of a control group. The research was released at the Society for Neuroscience conference in Washington DC in last November and the journal of New Scientist had a report covering this project.

By application of such a sound for just an hour a day, scientists were capable of induction of high-speed brainwaves that were able to break down the proteins. These waves, technically called gamma waves, are the waves fired by our brain when we are engaged in particular mental activities such as perception, attention, and memory.

The range of Gamma waves varies from 25 to 100 Hertz and the typical one is around 40 Hertz. In previous experiments carried out by the same team, the gamma waves were induced with light rather than with sounds but . In a paper published in Nature, they describe exposing mice to flickering light at 40 Hertz.

During the period of last year, the team realized that audio stimulation was not as limited as visual stimulation and was more efficient in reaching the hippocampus, the region in which  memories are stored. Once the brain is flushed with gamma waves, two effects come into play: fewer amyloid plaques were produced and more of these existing plaques were cleared out by immune cells known as microglia.

The exact cause of Alzheimer’s is uncertainly known yet. However the general consensus has focused on the accumulation of certain proteins, such as amyloid beta. The mice were experimented were as animal models and genetically engineered to develop an ailment similar to Alzheimer’s.

The gamma wave approach is already tested with humans, both in medical settings and privately, because such a therapy seem quite safe, by just listening to a hum for an hour. We have to wait and see whether this approach works. The mice used had no symptoms or were in the early stages of the disease. And while extremely useful, the mouse model might not translate to humans.

At present, there are more that 30 million people suffering  from Alzheimer’s disease all over the world and it is the most common cause of dementia.

Source: New Scientist