Researchers Test Flashing Light Therapy for Alzheimer's

Alissa Sauer
By Alissa SauerJanuary 25, 2017

A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology recently found that flashing light therapy can reduce the amount of beta amyloid in the brain. The study used mice as subjects, but with such promising results, researchers are hoping to move forward and test their theory on people with Alzheimer’s disease.

Learn more about this study and its potential impact on future Alzheimer’s treatment methods.

Flashing Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s

A research team led by Dr. Li-Huei Tsai from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has found that flashing light therapy may reduce the risk of toxic beta amyloid proteins in the brain.

The study used genetically engineered mice that had damage in their brain similar to that of someone living with Alzheimer’s.The study was published in the Nature journal in December 2016.

Researchers flashed light at 40 flashers per second, a barely noticeable flicker for an hour in the presence of the mice. They saw a significant reduction in beta amyloid of the next 12-24 hours in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, the hippocampus, in addition to the part of the brain responsible for vision. Researchers noticed a more significant difference when mice received the therapy every day for a week.

Promising Therapy Demands Further Research

The team is hopeful this non-invasive and painless treatment could have similar results in humans with Alzheimer’s. Dr. Tsai said, “We are optimistic. We  can use a very low intensity, very ambient soft light. You can hardly see the flicker itself.”

Dr. David Reynolds from Alzheimer’s Research UK stated of the study:

“Studies like this are valuable in revealing new processes implicated in Alzheimer’s disease and opening new avenues for further research. While mice used in this study showed some key features of Alzheimer’s, it is always important to follow up these findings in people.”

The team is currently seeking permission from the FDA to continue studies and have set up a commercial company to help develop the technology to be tested.

Would you be willing to take part in flashing light therapy for Alzheimer’s treatment? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the study and why you would or would not participate, in the comments below.

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Alissa Sauer

Alissa Sauer

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