Researchers at the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have shown that a unique, non-invasive treatment involving flickering light restores disrupted gamma waves in the brains of mice with Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain cells firing rhythmically and in sync produce waves, which are categorized by their firing frequencies. Delta waves (1.5 Hz to 4 Hz) are produced during deep sleep. Theta waves (4 Hz to 12 Hz) occur during running and deep meditation. And gamma waves (25 Hz to 100 Hz) are associated with excitement and concentration.
Changes in gamma waves in the range of 20–50 Hz have been observed in several neurological disorders. (Iaccarino, 2016). This gamma wave disruption may be a key factor in Alzheimer’s disease pathology, according to a 2016 mouse study published in Nature. The MIT researchers propose that restoration of these waves may one day also be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in humans.