Mind-Brain-Body Research Resources
Anne Trafton | MIT News Office
March 14, 2019
By exposing mice to a unique combination of light and sound, MIT neuroscientists have shown that they can improve cognitive and memory impairments similar to those seen in Alzheimer’s patients.
This noninvasive treatment, which works by inducing brain waves known as gamma oscillations, also greatly reduced the number of amyloid plaques found in the brains of these mice. Plaques were cleared in large swaths of the brain, including areas critical for cognitive functions such as learning and memory.
By Pam Belluck March 14, 2019
Could people’s eyes and ears help fix the damage Alzheimer’s disease does to the brain? Just by looking at flashing light and listening to flickering sound?
A new study led by a prominent M.I.T. neuroscientist offers tantalizing promise. It found that when mice engineered to exhibit Alzheimer’s-like qualities were exposed to strobe lights and clicking sounds, important brain functions improved and toxic levels of Alzheimer’s-related proteins diminished.
A scan of a mouse’s brain showing that some Alzheimer’s-like plaques dissipated after the mouse saw flashing lights and heard clicking sounds. Video by Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, M.I.T.
By Angus Chen on March 14, 2019
There is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. Although a few drugs manage temporarily certain cognitive symptoms of the illness, none can stop or meaningfully slow its progression. “We really don’t have much to offer people,” says Shannon Macauley, a neuroscientist at Wake Forest School of Medicine. Virtually all new treatments have failed in clinical trials. But new research is looking beyond drugs to see what relief might come from a simple LED light and a speaker.
Bathing patients in flashing light and pulsing sounds both tuned to a frequency of 40 hertz might reverse key signs of Alzheimer’s in the brain, according to a paper published in Cell on Thursday. “I think it’s an absolutely fascinating paper to be honest,” says Macauley, who was not involved in this work. “It’s a very provocative idea. It’s noninvasive and easy and low cost, potentially, so if it were to come to fruition in humans—that’s fabulous.”
Results from Small Open-Label Pilot of Light Therapy
Direct Light Therapy for Sundowning: A Feasibility Study. Group Aggregate Results
MindSpa was utilized in a small pilot study to test effect on sleep with an older population. While conclusions cannot be drawn from a small sampling, the results on its positive effects were encouraging. Click on the image below or the hyperlinks above to review the study.
Brain Wave Device Enhances Memory Function
UC Davis, By Andy Fell on October 22, 2018 in Human & Animal Health
A device to stimulate brain wave activity enhances theta wave activity in the brain and boosted performance on a memory test, UC Davis neuroscientists found.
“… theta wave entrainment enhanced theta wave activity and memory performance.”
The Potential for Entrainment to Enhance Creative Productivity
Author: Angharad Boann Jones, University of Bristol
Master of Education in the Graduate School of Education
This study investigates whether by using MindSpa as the entrainment device the investigator was able to increase production of creative idea generation tested during waking hours with eyes closed.
Twenty healthy participants were asked to undertake a verbal divergent thinking task whilst under the influence of an entrainment device. The task was administered under timed conditions to test if there was an increase in the number of ideas produced between the two conditions
The results suggest they do provide some evidence for the potential of entrainment to enhance productivity.
To download, see Additional Research link below
Unique visual stimulation may be new treatment for Alzheimer’s
Noninvasive technique reduces beta amyloid plaques in mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.
Using LED lights flickering at a specific frequency, MIT researchers have shown that they can substantially reduce the beta amyloid plaques seen in Alzheimer’s disease, in the visual cortex of mice.
This treatment appears to work by inducing brain waves known as gamma oscillations, which the researchers discovered help the brain suppress beta amyloid production and invigorate cells responsible for destroying the plaques.
Alzheimer’s disease, which affects more than 5 million people in the United States, is characterized by beta amyloid plaques that are suspected to be harmful to brain cells and to interfere with normal brain function. Previous studies have hinted that Alzheimer’s patients also have impaired gamma oscillations. These brain waves, which range from 25 to 80 hertz (cycles per second), are believed to contribute to normal brain functions such as attention, perception, and memory.
In a study of mice that were genetically programmed to develop Alzheimer’s but did not yet show any plaque accumulation or behavioral symptoms, Tsai and her colleagues found impaired gamma oscillations during patterns of activity that are essential for learning and memory while running a maze.
Next, the researchers stimulated gamma oscillations at 40 hertz in a brain region called the hippocampus, which is critical in memory formation and retrieval. These initial studies relied on a technique known as optogenetics, co-pioneered by Boyden, which allows scientists to control the activity of genetically modified neurons by shining light on them. Using this approach, the researchers stimulated certain brain cells known as interneurons, which then synchronize the gamma activity of excitatory neurons.
After an hour of stimulation at 40 hertz, the researchers found a 40 to 50 percent reduction in the levels of beta amyloid proteins in the hippocampus. Stimulation at other frequencies, ranging from 20 to 80 hertz, did not produce this decline.
Tsai and colleagues then began to wonder if less-invasive techniques might achieve the same effect. Tsai and Emery Brown, the Edward Hood Taplin Professor of Medical Engineering and Computational Neuroscience, a member of the Picower Institute, and an author of the paper, came up with the idea of using an external stimulus — in this case, light — to drive gamma oscillations in the brain. The researchers built a simple device consisting of a strip of LEDs that can be programmed to flicker at different frequencies.
Sound waves enhance deep sleep and memory
Pink noise synced to brain waves deepens sleep and boosts memory in older adults
CHICAGO - Gentle sound stimulation — such as the rush of a waterfall — synchronized to the rhythm of brain waves significantly enhanced deep sleep in older adults and improved their ability to recall words, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study.
Deep sleep is critical for memory consolidation. But beginning in middle age, deep sleep decreases substantially, which scientists believe contributes to memory loss in aging.
The sound stimulation significantly enhanced deep sleep in participants and their scores on a memory test.
“This is an innovative, simple and safe non-medication approach that may help improve brain health,” said senior author Dr. Phyllis Zee, professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and a Northwestern Medicine sleep specialist. “This is a potential tool for enhancing memory in older populations and attenuating normal age-related memory decline.”
The study was published March 8 in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.
In the study, 13 participants 60 and older received one night of acoustic stimulation and one night of sham stimulation. The sham stimulation procedure was identical to the acoustic one, but participants did not hear any noise during sleep. For both the sham and acoustic stimulation sessions, the individuals took a memory test at night and again the next morning. Recall ability after the sham stimulation generally improved on the morning test by a few percent. However, the average improvement was three times larger after pink-noise stimulation.
A Pilot Investigation of Auditory and Visual Entrainment of Brain Wave Activity in Learning Disabled Boys
Authors: Drs. John L. Carter and Harold L. Russell, Ph.D
Research demonstrates that individuals can learn to voluntarily alter and control the frequency of their brain wave activity resulting in a normalization of brainwave patterns and improved functioning. A problem is the length and intensity of training time required to bring about these changes. The purpose of this investigation was to determine if regular and sustained auditory and visual stimulation would bring about neurodevelopmental growth as reflected in increased IQ scores, achievement test scores, and self-control in learning disabled boys. Results suggest significant improvement following this training and that longer training time results in greater improvement. To download, see Additional Research link below.
Intellectual, Auditory and Photic Stimulation And Changes in Functioning In Children and Adults
Harold L. Russell, Ph.D
This paper was originally published as Feature Article in the Spring 1997 issue of Biofeedback.
The author is a clinical psychologist in private practice in Galveston, Texas and director of the Neural Research Foundation with a particular interest in procedures that directly influence improvement in brain functioning, since 1979. Prior to this, Dr. Russell was Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Texas Medical Branch specializing in stress related problems and was a pioneering biofeedback investigator.
Use of Auditory and Visual Stimulation to Improve Cognitive Abilities in Learning-Disabled Children
Author: Ruth Olmstead, Ph.D
This study examined the effects of auditory and visual stimulation (AVS) on four specific cognitive abilities known to be weak in children diagnosed with learning disabilities (LDs). Learning disabilities comprise cognitive deficits in executive functioning; such deficits include working memory, encoding, visual-motor coordination, response inhibition, planning, and processing. To download, see Additional Research link below.
EEG responses to long-term audio–visual stimulation
Authors: M. Teplan*, A. Krakovska´, S. S ˇ tolc
This study represents the first attempt to systematically test the hypothesis that long-term use of varying audio–visual input can have extended effects on electro-cortical activity. Several significant changes in EEG were detected during the weeks of regular use of AVS. The study suggests that AVS training could be more effective in inducing long-continuing changes of EEG than regular 20-min listening to relaxation music used by the control group.
To download, see Additional Research link below.
The Impact of Audio-Visual Stimulation on Alpha Brain Oscillations: an EEG Study
Authors: Christos N. Moridis, Manousos A. Klados, Ioannis A. Kokkinakis, Vasileios Terzis, Anastasios A. Economides, Anna Karlovasitou, Panagiotis D. Bamidis, Vasileios E. Karabatakis
Many studies investigated the brain responses as a reaction in auditory or visual stimuli separately. However a few studies have been published so far investigating the interactions of the two aforementioned stimuli. The current study comes to examine the impact of the audio-visual stimulation with binaural beats and flickering light in four different colors on low and upper alpha oscillations. For this purpose electroencephalogram (EEG) was adopted and Event Related Desynchronization/Event Related Synchronization (ERD/ERS) has been used as an index in order to investigate the alpha brain responses. Statistically significant results suggest that the combination of audio-visual stimuli with binaural beats and flickering light color at 8 and 10 Hz respectively can evoke significant Following Frequency Response (FFR) of the low and upper alpha oscillations.
To download, see Additional Research link below.
Measures of EEG in the context of long-term audio-visual stimulation
Authors: M. Teplan, A. Krakovská, S. Štolc
Six right-handed healthy subjects (2 females and 4 males) volunteered for the AVS training.
Overall training of each subject from the test group consisted of 25 AVS program sessions,
each of 20-minute length.
Their results suggest that regular training with AVS does induce long-term changes in cortex functioning, such as those commonly reported to be features specific to relaxation or altered states of consciousness.
To download, see Additional Research link below.
A Comprehensive Review of the Psychological Effects of Brainwave Entrainment
Authors: Tina Huang, PhD, Christine Charyton, PhD
Funded by our friends at Transparent Corp. Click here to visit the Transparent Research Area
The Transparent Research link above offers an extensive list of peer-reviewed, controlled studies on brainwave entrainment. They are categorized by the type of control used.
Published, Peer Reviewed Research Downloads
Intellectual, Auditory and Photic Stimulation And Changes in Functioning In Children and Adults (Stanford Univ. Link) 183.0KB