Scientists have previously shown that a flickering type of light therapy could potentially reduce toxic proteins that build up in the brain in Alzheimer’s disease. Now, the same team of researchers has identified the cellular mechanism behind the cause.

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a neurodegenerative disease that occurs as a result of the deposition of toxic amyloid and tau proteins in the brain. Alzheimer’s gradually destroys brain tissue and associated function through the irreversible cell loss.

Alzheimer’s disease International’s 2018 report shows that fifty million people worldwide have dementia. Out of these, two-thirds are due to Alzheimer’s disease.

In earlier 2016, scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge discovered that shining a flickering light into the eyes of mice could decrease the toxic deposition of amyloid and tau proteins that occur in the brain with Alzheimer’s disease.

In Alzheimer’s individual, gamma oscillation wave is impaired. Light therapy boosts this form of brain wave in Alzheimer’s disease.  More recently, the MIT team revealed that combining light therapy with sound therapy extended the beneficial effects even further.

Those studies also reveal that light therapy can enhance memory in mice genetically liable to develop Alzheimer’s disease and spatial memory in older mice lacking the condition.    

The latest study has revealed that boosting gamma oscillations can progress the connection between nerve cells, decrease inflammation, and preserve against cell death in mouse models of Alzheimer’s. It also shows that the therapy’s comprehensive effects entail not only nerve cells, or neurons, but also a type of immune cell called microglia.


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