Last updated on September 2018

Alzheimer's Disease Treatment With Combination of 40Hz Light and Cognitive Therapy


Brief description of study

Electrical activity in the brain known as "gamma" brainwaves help connect and process information throughout the brain. These gamma waves are diminished in Alzheimer's disease. New research in Alzheimer's disease mouse models shows that exposure to light flickering at the rate of 40 flashes per second or 40Hz increased gamma brainwaves and led to clearing of beta amyloid plaques in the brain, a key abnormality in Alzheimer's disease. This project will test the ability of a novel iPad App ("ALZLIFE") that delivers light therapy at 40 Hz combined with cognitive therapy to improve cognition, function, and quality of life in Alzheimer's disease.

Detailed Study Description

New research suggests that exposure to a light flickering at 40Hz may promote gamma brain wave activity through the photic entrainment phenomenon. These waves have the potential to activate critical cleaning cells in the brain that could eliminate beta amyloid plaques. The most recent research on light therapy for Alzheimer's disease appeared in the journal Nature in 2017, entitled "How flashing lights and pink noise might banish Alzheimer's, improve memory and more" (the full article can be freely accessed at: https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-02391-6) and in 2016, entitled "Gamma frequency entrainment attenuates amyloid load and modifies microglia" (the article abstract can be accessed at: https://www.nature.com/articles/nature20587). Researchers from MIT found that shining a strobe light into the eyes of mice with a rodent version of Alzheimer's disease encouraged protective cells to phagocytize the harmful proteins that accumulate in the brain. The perfect rate of flashes was determined to be 40 per second. Exposure to the flashing light for an hour (light therapy) led to a noticeable reduction in beta amyloid levels the next day in regions of the neocortex and hippocampus. When done every day for a week, beta amyloid levels were greatly reduced.

In addition, there is a significant body of evidence that computerized brain training (cognitive therapy) improves the memory of patients with Alzheimer's and dementia, which could help avert some symptoms of cognitive decline.

The synergistic combination of light and cognitive therapy utilized in AlzLife has the potential to improve the brain's function better than either of these therapies alone. This project will test the ability of a novel iPad App ("ALZLIFE") that delivers light therapy at 40 Hz combined with cognitive therapy to improve cognition, function, and quality of life in Alzheimer's disease.

Clinical Study Identifier: NCT03657745

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Andrey Vyshedskiy

Andrey Vyshedskiy
Miami, FL United States
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