Summary: Researchers have found that tactile stimulation at a frequency of 40 Hz can help reduce the pathology and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.

The study, conducted on Alzheimer’s model mice, showed improved brain health and motor function after daily exposure to such stimulation for several weeks.

This study shows that such stimulation reduces levels of phosphorylated tau, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease, and protects neurons from damage and synaptic loss. The discovery could open up new opportunities for non-invasive therapies to treat neurodegenerative diseases.

Key facts:

  1. The study is the first to show that 40 Hz tactile stimulation reduces phosphorylated tau, a protein associated with Alzheimer’s, and prevents neuronal death and synaptic loss.
  2. Alzheimer’s model mice exposed daily to 40 Hz vibration for several weeks showed improvements in brain health and motor function compared to untreated controls.
  3. The team wants to investigate whether this method of stimulation can benefit people with impaired motor function.

Source: Picower Institute of Education and Memory

Evidence that noninvasive sensory stimulation of 40 Hz gamma frequency brain rhythms reduces Alzheimer’s disease pathology and symptoms, already demonstrated by multiple research groups in mice and humans with light and sound, now extends to tactile stimulation.

A new study by MIT scientists showed that Alzheimer’s model mice exposed to 40 Hz vibration for one hour a day for several weeks showed improvements in brain health and motor activity compared to untreated controls.

The MIT team is not the first to show that gamma frequency tactile stimulation affects brain activity and improves motor activity, but they are the first to show that the stimulation reduces levels of the Alzheimer’s protein phosphorylated tau, preventing neurons from dying or dying. The synapse cycle is reduced by loss of connections and neuronal DNA damage.

This shows the hands of an old woman.
After the researchers found that 40 Hz tactile stimulation increases nerve activity, they evaluated the effect on the disease in the two mouse models. Credit: Neuroscience News

“This work reveals a third sense we can use to increase gamma energy in the brain,” said the study’s corresponding author, Picower, director of the Learning and Memory and Aging Brain Initiative at MIT. and Picower Professor in the Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences (BCS).

“We are excited to see that 40 Hz tactile stimulation benefits motor skills, which was not seen with the other modalities. It will be interesting to see if tactile stimulation can benefit humans with motor function problems.”

Ho-Jun Suk, Nicole Bui, Guaji Shu and Arith Banerjee are the study’s lead authors. Frontiers in Geriatric Neuroscience and Ed Boyden, the Yeva Tan Professor of Neurotechnology at MIT, are the paper’s co-senior author. Boyden, an associate member of the Picwoer Institute at BCS as well as the Departments of Bioengineering and Media Arts and Sciences, the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, and the K. Lisa Yang Cener has been appointed to Bionics.

Feel the vibration

In the year In a series of papers since 2016, a collaboration led by Tsai’s lab has shown that flashing light and/or clicking sound at 40 Hz (using sensory stimuli called GENUS for Gamma Entrainment, a technology) reduces levels of amyloid-beta and tau proteins. , prevents neuronal death and protects synapses and supports learning and memory in various mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease.

Most recently, in pilot clinical studies, the team showed that 40 Hz light and sound stimulation was safe, successfully increased brain activity and communication, and produced significant clinical benefits in a small group of human volunteers with early-stage Alzheimer’s disease.

Other groups have repeatedly confirmed the health benefits of 40 Hz sensory stimulation, and MIT spin-off company Cognito Therapeutics, Cognito Therapeutics, has begun Phase 3 clinical trials of light and sound stimulation as an Alzheimer’s treatment.

The new study tested whether whole-body 40 Hz tactile stimulation produced meaningful benefits in two commonly used mouse models of Alzheimer’s neurodegeneration, the tau P301S mouse, the tau pathology and synapse loss, and the reprogramming CK-p25 mouse. DNA damage in human disease.

The team focused their analyzes on two parts of the brain: the primary somatosensory cortex (SSp), where tactile sensations are processed, and the primary motor cortex (MOp), where the brain issues movement commands to the body.

To produce the vibration stimulus, the researchers placed mouse cages on speakers that played a 40 Hz sound, which vibrated the peppers.

Unstimulated control rats were in the same room in interlaced cages so that all rats heard the same 40 Hz tone. Differences between stimulated and control rats were measured by increasing tactile stimulation.

First, the researchers found that 40 Hz vibrations caused changes in neural activity in the brains of healthy (non-Alzheimer’s) mice.

As measured by c-fos protein expression, its activity increased two-fold in SSP and more than 3-fold in MOp, with a statistically significant increase in the latter case.

After the researchers found that 40 Hz tactile stimulation increases nerve activity, they evaluated the effect on the disease in the two mouse models. To ensure both sexes were represented, the team used male P301S mice and female CK-p25 mice.

P301S mice stimulated for three weeks showed significant preservation of neurons compared to unstimulated controls in both brain regions. Stimulated rats showed significant decreases in SSP in two parameters, and similar trends in MOp.

CK-p25 mice received six weeks of vibration stimulation. These mice showed significantly higher levels of synaptic protein markers in both brain regions compared with unstimulated control mice. They also showed a reduction in the amount of DNA damage.

Finally, the group was not exposed to the motor skills of the rats exposed to vibration. They found that both mouse models were able to stay on the rotating shaft significantly longer. P301S mice also hung on the wire mesh longer than control mice, while CK-p25 mice showed a positive, although not significant, effect.

“The present study, together with our previous studies, shows the possibility of using non-invasive sensory stimulation using visual or auditory GENUS as a novel therapeutic strategy to improve pathology and improve behavioral performance in neurodegenerative diseases,” the authors concluded.

Financial support Support for the research came from the JPB Foundation, the Picower Institute for Learning and Memory, Eduardo Urnekian, The DeGroff-VM Foundation, the Hallis Family Foundation, Melissa and Doug Ko Hahn, Lester Gimpelson, the Eleanor Schwartz Charitable Foundation, the Dolby Family, Kathleen. and Miguel Octavio, Jay and Carol Miller, Ann Gao and Alex Hu, and Charles Haiken.

So Alzheimer’s disease research news

Author: David Orenstein
Source: Picower Institute of Education and Memory
Contact: David Orenstein – Picower Institute of Learning and Memory
Image: Image credited to Neuroscience News.

Preliminary study: Open Access.
Vibrational stimulation at gamma frequency reduces neurodegeneration-related pathology and improves motor function.” by Lee-Hui Tsai et al. Frontiers in Geriatric Neuroscience


Vibrational stimulation at gamma frequency reduces neurodegeneration-related pathology and improves motor function.

Associated with these diseases, various pathological conditions and functional deficits increase the risk of neurodegenerative diseases in old age.

We have previously shown that non-invasive visual stimulation with 40 Hz light flicker aliorated pathology and improved cognitive function in mouse models of neurodegeneration, but 40 Hz stimulation using other senses has not been studied to affect neurodegeneration and motor function.

Here, we show that whole-body vibration stimulation at 40 Hz induces neural activity in the primary somatosensory cortex (SSp) and primary motor cortex (MOp). In two different mouse models of neurodegeneration, Tau P301S and CK-p25 mice, daily exposure to 40 Hz vibratory stimulation for several weeks reduced brain pathology in SSP and MOP.

Furthermore, both Tau P301S and CK-p25 mice showed improved motor performance after several weeks of daily 40 Hz vibratory stimulation. Vibrational stimulation at 40 Hz can therefore be considered as a promising therapeutic strategy for motor deficits in neurodegenerative diseases.

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