Of all conditions affecting the elderly, one of the most difficult for family care professionals to deal with is Alzheimer's disease. This condition worsens the memory to the point that some who suffered from the condition cannot remember their loved ones. MIT researchers have found a new potential treatment that has shown a promise in testing.
MIT neuroscientists have exposed mice to a unique combination of light and sound and proven that brain wave stimulation can improve cognitive and memory loss in mice. The team says that the disabilities they have treated in mice are similar to those seen in Alzheimer's patients.
The treatment is non-invasive and acts by inducing a type of brain wave called gamma oscillations. Researchers also found that the treatment "greatly reduced" the number of amyloid plaques found in the brains of mice when tested. These plaques were cleared in large brain fluctuations, including in areas of cognitive function such as learning and memory.
The team says that further studies are needed to determine if the treatment will work in humans. Some preliminary safety tests of this type of stimulation have so far been performed in healthy people. Previous studies on Alzheimer's have shown that those suffering from the condition may have impaired function in their gamma frequency oscillations.
These fluctuations are believed to be important for brain function as attention, perception and memory. When testing rodents, the team found that the benefits of treatment faded within a week. This indicates that effective treatment may require continuous application to be useful.