Scientists "Clear" Alzheimer's Plaque in Mice using Only Light and Sound
15 MAR 2019
Clumps of harmful proteins that interfere with brain functions have been partially cleared in mice using nothing but light and sound.
Research led by MIT has found strobe lights and a low pitched buzz can be used to recreate brain waves lost in the disease, which in turn remove plaque and improve cognitive function in mice engineered to display Alzheimer's-like behavior.
It's a little like using light and sound to trigger their own brain waves to help fight the disease.
This technique hasn't been clinically trialed in humans as yet, so it's too soon to get excited - brain waves are known to work differently in humans and mice.
But, if replicated, these early results hint at a possible cheap and drug-free way to treat the common form of dementia.
So how does it work?
Advancing a previous study that showed flashing light 40 times a second into the eyes of engineered mice treated their version of Alzheimer's disease, researchers added sound of a similar frequency and found it dramatically improved their results.
"When we combine visual and auditory stimulation for a week, we see the engagement of the prefrontal cortex and a very dramatic reduction of amyloid," says Li-Huei Tsai, one of the researchers from MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory.
It's not the first study to investigate the role sound can play in clearing the brain of the tangles and clumps of tau and amyloid proteins at least partially responsible for the disease.
Previous studies showed bursts of ultrasound make blood vessels leaky enough to allow powerful treatments to slip into the brain, while also encouraging the nervous system's waste-removal experts, microglia, to pick up the pace.
Several years ago, Tsai discovered light flickering at a frequency of about 40 flashes a second had similar benefits in mice engineered to build up amyloid in their brain's nerve cells.
"The result was so mind-boggling and so robust, it took a while for the idea to sink in, but we knew we needed to work out a way of trying out the same thing in humans," Tsai told Helen Thomson at Nature at the time.
The only problem was this effect was confined to visual parts of the brain, missing key areas that contribute to the formation and retrieval of memory.
While the method's practical applications looked a little limited, the results pointed to a way oscillations could help the brain recover from the grip of Alzheimer's disease.
As our brain's neurons transmit signals they also generate electromagnetic waves that help keep remote regions in sync - so-called 'brain waves'.
One such set of oscillations are defined as gamma-frequencies, rippling across the brain at around 30 to 90 waves per second. These brain waves are most active when we're paying close attention, searching our memories in order to make sense of what's going on.
Tsai's previous study had suggested these gamma waves are impeded in individuals with Alzheimer's, and might play a pivotal role in the pathology itself.
Light was just one way to trick the parts of the brain into humming in the key of gamma. Sounds can also manage this in other areas.
Instead of the high pitched scream of ultrasound, Tsui used a much lower droning noise of just 40 Hertz, a sound only just high enough for humans to hear.
Exposing their mouse subjects to just one hour of this monotonous buzz every day for a week led to a significant drop in the amount of amyloid build up in the auditory regions, while also stimulating those microglial cells and blood vessels.
"What we have demonstrated here is that we can use a totally different sensory modality to induce gamma oscillations in the brain," says Tsai.
As an added bonus, it also helped clear the nearby hippo-campus – an important section associated with memory.
The effects weren't just evident in the test subjects' brain chemistry. Functionally, mice exposed to the treatment performed better in a range of cognitive tasks.
Adding the light therapy from the previous study saw an even more dramatic effect, clearing plaques in a number of areas across the brain, including in the prefrontal cortex. Those trash-clearing microglia also went to town.
"These microglia just pile on top of one another around the plaques," says Tsai.
Discovering new mechanisms in the way nervous systems clear waste and synchronise activity is a huge step forward in the development of treatments for all kinds of neurological disorders.
Translating discoveries like this to human brains will take more work, especially when there are potential contrasts in how gamma waves appear in mice and human Alzheimer's brains.
So far early testing for safety has shown the process seems to have no clear side effects.
This research was published in Cell.
Finding a good hypnotherapist can seem like a difficult task as it isn't a profession that is promoted as well as it deserves to be in the media. Some clients who go don't admit to it and there are some deceptive hypnotists who promise instant results out there. While that may be a bit disconcerting, remember that hypnosis was approved by the America Medical Association in 1958 and prior to that people had been using clinical hypnotherapy for decades and there are many qualified hypnotherapist professionals that can help you.
Any kind of medical or therapeutic relationship requires you to vet the professional you're seeking help from. You wouldn't randomly stroll into the first doctor, psychologist, or dentist's office you see, right? Then you shouldn't for a hypnotherapist either. Not all professionals are made equal and even a great one may not have the background you need or be the best hypnotherapist for you.
So, if needing help kicking a smoking habit or with weight loss how do you find reputable hypnotherapy in Spokane? Let's cover some helpful tips that can spare you from random Google searches and help you to vet credible hypnosis centers in Spokane, WA.
State Registration is required by all Hypnotherapists in Washington State
Yes, hypnotherapists need to be registered and there are additional professional organizations that really help you discover who you are dealing with. You really want to keep an eye out for state registrations and other certifications. Make sure they are registered to practice hypnotherapy in Washington state and certified in the field of hypnosis, specifically. Professional organizations like the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis (ASCH) or American Council of Hypnotist Examiners (ACHE) would have rosters you could check, just look for hypnosis centers in Spokane, WA or hypnotherapists around Spokane. If looking for a specific treatment checkout their directories, as an example, stop smoking hypnosis listed in or near Spokane.
Another thing to consider is how much time the hypnotherapist has been in the field. You don't want to settle for someone who has only read and taken tests about using weight loss hypnosis, but someone who can bring years of experience to the treatment. You want to be sure that the hypnotherapist has experience relevant to whatever you're wanting to get through or overcome. When reading through the ASCH or ACHE directories, take a look at what the hypnotherapist specializes in and for how long, they'd be a better fit for your problem and would be a great shortcut in finding a good hypnotherapist in Spokane.
Avoid the inexperienced Spokane Hypnotist
A great way to root out phonies or hypnotherapists who just don't have a good skillset is to avoid those promising a quick fix like "1-week weight loss hypnosis". They're most likely over selling you and many websites will promote only the idea of single-session remedy. Remember change takes time and it’s best to look for those that offer longer term programs in addition to a single session.
Finding a good hypnotherapist in Spokane means finding a professional that is there to help identify the root of your habits rather than simply focus on the symptoms. Good hypnotherapists place emphasis on behavior change coaching to assist you in creating lasting change. But, also remember that hypnotherapy is not like traditional therapy nor is it a replacement for it, they're different professions. A good hypnotherapist asks your mind to help uncover the behavior patterns that support your non-productive habits. This approach frees us over time from the old stories that operate on a mostly subconscious level in support of this problematic behavior.
If you're concerned about finding hypnosis centers in Spokane, WA then ask a friend or your doctor for a referral. Professionals in all fields tend to network, so don't be afraid to ask for a recommendation. You may have cut out searching altogether with one question. Are you ready now to find a good hypnotherapist in Spokane?
Hypnotherapy Consultations and Specialties
Alright, so you've combed the directories and think you found a good hypnotherapist in Spokane. They have the proper credentials, licenses and come recommended through ratings or referrals. Before settling in for treatment, get an in-person or phone consultation first. Any good hypnotherapist would be proud to share their experience and successes with you, it's a chance to show off their resume so-to-speak.
During the consultation take the opportunity to ask what behavior or problem they have the most experience treating successfully. No professional specializes in everything, ever notice the many kinds of therapists and medical doctors? A jack of all trades can only help a little bit in every area and if you're looking to mend a specific behavior then you want a hypnotherapist who has extensive knowledge as well as a background well-versed in your problem.
Listen to them when they answer you though. If they're giving you vague answers or claim to have been successful with every problem under the sun, then they're not being honest. No kind of therapy works every time and for everyone. Any good hypnotherapist or professional for that matter will be truthful regarding the limitations of their treatment, even recommending that you not go through with what they have to offer.
Fight for A Good Hypnotherapist
It's never easy looking for help with an issue, whether it's medical or behavioral, but it's important to shop around carefully. Hypnotherapy can be a great way to kick a smoking habit or an extra weapon in the fight for weight loss, even to move a phobia into nonexistence. Invest in yourself and choose a hypnotherapist who can work with you to solve the problem your facing. Don't expect a quick fix or settle for a sham-solution. You came here because you were wondering how to, find a good hypnotherapist in Spokane, these three tips will help you avoid the frauds and pitfalls of your search.
Perhaps It's Time to Try Smoking Cessation Hypnosis
If the traditional meditate and talk quit smoking traditions aren't your thing, perhaps you should try smoking cessation hypnosis. Smoking cessation can be a real challenge and the many kinds of programs that aim to help you quit smoking can be another hurdle to sift through. While smoking cessation hypnosis isn't the watch swinging instant cure they present in the movies, it is a legitimate and powerful way you can kick the smoking habit.
To help you make an informed and well-rounded decision as to which way to quit smoking would work best for you, let's go over some of the more traditional stop smoking treatments and compare them to smoking cessation hypnosis.
Many stop smoking programs include therapy and smoking cessation hypnosis though different, also begins with your habit. To understand why you smoke and the reasons behind the behavior are more than half the battle. Smoking is more than a nicotine addiction and while peer pressure or curiosity may have been the initial cause, it isn't what makes putting the cigarette down so difficult.
Nicotine leaves the body after three to four days and so it isn't the withdrawals that keep you wanting more a month or two after quitting. To help identify these triggers therapists and those in hypnotherapy talk it out with topics like when do you usually crave a cigarette, what do you think when others are having them, what times of day did you usually smoke, etc.
The difference between traditional stop smoking programs and smoking cessation hypnosis is the goal of these conversations. For the hypnotherapy sessions, it's a precursor to the actual treatment. Helping to identify subconscious triggers that the hypnosis professional can zero in on. While both programs include talking about behaviors and both include therapy, the purposes are different. Hypnotherapy aims to quiet the cravings and refocus the subconscious desires while traditional programs aim to give you tools to "distract" your cravings.
Remember, no one is arguing that smoking cessation hypnosis is better or worse than traditional programs. It's a valid option that may work better for you if haven't benefited from other programs or you want to forgo medication.
Medication or No?
Many traditional stop smoking programs use medication to remove the nicotine withdrawals or help the therapy along. Keeping you less stressed and more happy due to the prescription. Some of them are nicotine patches or stop smoking from feeling good. Smoking cessation hypnosis doesn't use medication to treat cigarette addiction and so, if you're wary of patches or pills then hypnotherapy may be the best course for you.
While it is true that quitting smoking medications can double your chances of quitting permanently, the stop smoking hypnosis success rate is 66%. An impressive number as it involves no medication and strictly the power of the subconscious mind. Another impressive number you should know that is in a 2007 study from the American College of Chest Physicians found that that half of the patients who used smoking cessation hypnosis stayed cigarette free after 26 weeks compared to 15% of the medicated group.
Hypnotherapy and smoking cessation hypnosis address the underlying triggers that keep your smoking behavior going rather than just the symptoms. Some people may require nicotine patches and medication to help them become healthier and others may not. If you feel that you're in the latter category, give hypnotherapy a shot.
The Future is Your Hypnotic Health
We all pick up habits in our life that turn out to not be the best for us and there is no shame in that. Also, there isn't any shame in seeking help to overcoming an unhealthy habit. Sometimes friendly support will do the trick or some extra mental tricks.
No matter which route you choose from traditional stop smoking programs or patches or prescription medicine, or even smoking cessation hypnosis. It's all about you becoming a healthier and happier person. That is the only goal, no matter how you get there. Just know that typing into your search engine "smoking cessation hypnosis near me" isn't a badge of shame or weakness, it's an emblem of courage and will. You can't stop a habit unless you know you have one and you can't go to hypnotherapy unless you have the willpower to quit.
Oh! Another plus to smoking cessation hypnosis? No more freezing outside in the winter for a cigarette break. With the summer upon us, get a head start and make your first step into quitting by booking your appointment here.
About the Author
Behavior Change Coach and Author James Barfoot CHt holds certifications as a Master Practitioner of NLP and is a Clinical Hypnotherapist who is registered to practice in Washington State. He developed The Primal Toolbox a behavior change and coaching strategy based on a tribal models. James lives in Spokane WA.