40Hz Sound Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease

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40Hz Sound Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease

Over the last two years, researchers at MIT have discovered that exposure to light flickering or sound clicking at a gamma-band brain rhythm frequency of 40 hertz — or both combined — has powerful beneficial effects on memory and learning in mice models of Alzheimer’s disease pathology. These benefits include improved learning, decreased brain atrophy, reduced neuron and synapse loss, as well as lower levels of hallmark Alzheimer’s proteins amyloid beta and phosphorylated tau.

The benefits of this type of stimulation are thought to stem from its increased power and synchrony with the 40 hertz brain rhythm, which triggers various types of neuronal activity in humans. MIT researchers are now testing whether it’s safe to use sensory stimulation on humans through two early-stage clinical trials.

First, a pilot study (paywalled) evaluated the safety of 40-hertz light and sound therapy on 20 participants with Alzheimer’s disease, including nine with AD/PD. Each volunteer wore a device that synchromized strobe lights with audio tone and vibrations at their individual maximum tolerance level. They underwent baseline and follow-up visits for EEG measurements, MRI scans of brain volume, as well as cognitive testing.

At the baseline visit, each volunteer rated their comfort with the strobes and sounds on a scale of zero to 10, from “low” to “high.” Subsequently, volunteers were exposed to these same sounds twice weekly for six weeks at each intensity level; following which, each participant completed a questionnaire at the end of treatment.

At each treatment session, participants took three memory and cognition tests: ADAS-Cog14, CDR-sb, and MADCOMS – designed to assess specific areas of cognition. At follow-up visits, each person took the ADCS-ADL and MMSE assessments which assess daily function as well as mental status.

On all three tests, the 40-hertz treatment group scored significantly better than both sham and active treatment groups. This was particularly evident on memory and cognition tests where they scored 84 percent and 83 percent higher on average on the 40-hertz treatment than either sham or active treatments, respectively.

Although the results of this preliminary study were encouraging, a larger, more rigorous trial is necessary to fully determine the efficacy and safety of this new approach for treating Alzheimer’s.

Cognito Therapeutics, an MIT spinoff company, launched a preliminary trial in January 2017 to assess the safety of exposing Alzheimer’s patients to simultaneous flickering lights, an audio tone and vibrations all set at 40 hertz. As part of this experiment, researchers will also measure entrainment of these brainwaves with EEG electrodes during exposure.

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- Welcome, SoundTherapy.com lowers anxiety 86%, pain 77%, and boosts memory 11-29%. Click on the brain to sign up or share with buttons below to help others: