Sending mice to the disco to treat Alzheimer’s. Will it work? And what does it have to say about what we can do with our own brains?
Neuroscientists are getting excited about non-invasive procedures to tune the brain’s natural oscillations.
In March 2015, Li-Huei Tsai set up a tiny disco for some of the mice in her laboratory. For an hour each day, she placed them in a box lit only by a flickering strobe. The mice — which had been engineered to produce plaques of the peptide amyloid-β in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease — crawled about curiously. When Tsai later dissected them, those that had been to the mini dance parties had significantly lower levels of plaque than mice that had spent the same time in the dark1.
Now, a growing body of evidence, including Tsai’s findings, hint at a meaningful connection to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
A non-intrusive path into the brain is a holy grail of sorts.
If these treatments are even moderately or minimally successful, or they lead to treatments that are, it could be the start of a revolution in preventing and treating the whole range of disorders associated with aging.
What other effects are possible? Might there be a set of oscillations to treat depression? To improve sleep? To build confidence? To generate state of euphoria or enlightenment?
This is what “Binaural beats” claim to be able to do. But what if there is really something to it?
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Eternity Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) | Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License | http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0