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A groundbreaking study by researchers from The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT has introduced a new method to potentially treat Alzheimer’s disease. This innovative approach utilizes specific light frequencies flickering and sound clicking to stimulate the brain’s waste removal system, aiding in the clearance of harmful proteins linked to Alzheimer’s.

Gamma frequency reduces amyloid protein accumulation in the brain

The study proposes that stimulating the brain at a gamma frequency of 40 Hz could reduce amyloid protein accumulation, potentially alleviating symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease such as memory loss and cognitive decline.

Senior author Li-Huei Tsai said that since their publication of their initial findings in 2016, inquiries regarding its operational mechanism have consistently arisen. Li-Huei acknowledges inquiries regarding the selection of 40 Hz and its superiority over other frequencies. Addressing these pivotal queries is a focus of ongoing research.

In experiments with genetically modified mice with Alzheimer’s, scientists found that gamma frequency stimulation increased the release of specific peptides from interneurons. These peptides seem to enhance the brain’s glymphatic system, responsible for clearing away waste products like amyloid proteins.

Aquaporin 4 water channel facilitates glymphatic fluid exchange

The glymphatic system, working alongside brain blood vessels, helps remove brain waste. Researchers found that the aquaporin 4 (AQP4) water channel in astrocyte cells plays a crucial role in facilitating glymphatic fluid exchange. Blocking AQP4 function through chemicals or genetics reduced the benefits of gamma frequency stimulation on amyloid clearance and cognitive function in mice.

Mitch Murdock, former doctoral student at MIT’s Brain and Cognitive Sciences department, acknowledges the absence of a precise chronological map of events. However, his experiments support a clearance pathway via significant glymphatic routes.

Researchers highlight a notable rise in vascular pulsatility in mice subjected to gamma stimulation. This indicates that the stimulation not only impacts brain cell functions but also extends to enhancing blood vessel performance, thus improving waste removal through the glymphatic system.

The study suggests that utilizing sensory stimulation of brain rhythms could be beneficial in treating neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease but researchers acknowledge that this approach is only a piece of the puzzle.