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Newsweek

A new study by MIT researchers finds that an experimental Alzheimer’s treatment involving sound and light stimulation at a frequency of 40 Hz is associated with, “an increase in activity of the brain's own cleanup crew; the glymphatic system,” reports Pandora Dewan for Newsweek. The findings offer an, “exciting, non-invasive potential treatment option for patients with neurological disorders in the future,” Dewan notes.

New Scientist

MIT scientists have found that an experimental treatment for Alzheimer's disease involving sounds and flickering lights appears to “ramp up the brain’s waste disposal networks, which boosts the clearance of beta-amyloid and other toxic proteins that contribute to memory and concentration problems,” reports Clare Wilson for New Scientist. “Once we understand the mechanism, we can probably figure out how to further optimize this whole concept and improve the efficacy,” explains Prof. Li-Huei Tsai.

The Boston Globe

Prof. Li-Huei Tsai and Prof. Ed Boyden co-founded Cognito Therapeutics after their research found that gamma waves could help clear amyloid plaques, which are known to appear in Alzheimer’s patients, reports Ryan Cross for The Boston Globe.  “It was the most surprising result I’ve ever got in my life,” says Tsai. “When we published our first paper, most people said, ‘I don’t believe it. This is too good to be true. How can something this simple have this kind of effect?’”

Fast Company

In an excerpt from “Your Brain on Art” published in Fast Company, Susan Magsamen and Ivy Ross spotlight Prof. Li-Huei Tsai research exploring whether gamma oscillations from light and sound could help ease Alzheimer’s symptoms. “Li-Huei believes that increased gamma oscillations in the brain engage many different systems and cell types,” write Magsamen and Ross. “Because of this, the gamma waves may help with amyloid removal.”

Nature

Nature reporter Elie Dolgin writes that a new study by MIT researchers explores the role of the gene variant APOE4 in Alzheimer’s, and finds that the gene is linked with faulty cholesterol processing in the brain, impacting the insulation around nerve cells and potentially causing memory and learning deficits. “The work suggests that drugs that restore the brain’s cholesterol processing could treat the disease,” writes Dolgin. 

New York Times

A study by Prof. Emery Brown suggests that the combination of Covid-19 and anesthesia could prompt the human brain into a state of quiet that can last weeks or months, similar to how turtles quiet their neurons to survive winter, reports Carl Zimmer for The New York Times. The findings “might point to new ways to save people from brain damage: by intentionally putting people into this state, rather than doing so by accident.”

USA Today

USA Today reporter Karen Weintraub spotlights Prof. Li-Huei Tsai’s work studying a potential new approach to treating Alzheimer's disease and “whether certain tones of sound and frequencies of light can help regulate brain waves and help clear our cellular trash, including toxic proteins.” Tsai explains that: “The major difference between this approach and all other approaches is that this approach doesn’t just target one molecule or one pathway or one cell type. This is a holistic approach to take care of the whole system.”

Good Morning America

Reporting for Good Morning America, Kate Kindelan spotlights how Prof. Troy Littleton has placed a travel crib in one of his lab’s offices so his graduate student, Karen Cunningham, can bring her 10-month-old child to work with her when needed. “These sort of local ways that people in positions of power can protect parents against the systemic things, like what Troy's been doing in creating a really supportive and inclusive lab, I think that does make a really big difference and it's great to have an example of that,” says Cunningham.

Wired

Wired reporter Max Levy spotlights Prof. Emery Brown and Earl Miller’s research examining how neurons in the brain operate as “consciousness emerges and recedes—and how doctors could better control it.” Levy writes that “Miller and Brown's work could make anesthesia safer, by allowing anesthesiologists who use the EEG to more precisely control drug dosages for people who are unconscious.”

Popular Science

Popular Science reporter Nicole Wetsman writes that MIT researchers have found light pulses could potentially be used to help ease the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers found that “light pulses and gamma oscillations protect against neurodegeneration and change the expression of genes involved with inflammation and neuron health in the brains of mice.”

Boston Globe

A gift from alumnus Charles Broderick will enable researchers at MIT and Harvard to investigate how cannabis effects the brain and behavior, reports Felice Freyer for The Boston Globe. Prof. John Gabrieli explains that it has been “incredibly hard” to get funding for marijuana research. “Without the philanthropic boost, it could take many years to work through all these issues,” he notes.

WBUR

WBUR reporter Carey Goldberg spotlights how a gift from alumnus Charles Broderick is funding research on cannabis and its impacts on the brain. "We were saying, 'Wouldn't it be great to study this?'” says Prof. Myriam Heiman of the need to study the impacts of cannabis. "And then this gift comes along and really is enabling us to do everything we wanted to do."

Los Angeles Times

Los Angeles Times reporter Melissa Healy writes that a new study by MIT researchers provides evidence that acoustic and visual stimulation could improve Alzheimer’s symptoms. “The study’s central finding — that inducing electrical synchrony touched off such a widespread range of effects — suggests there might be a single key lever that can preserve or restore order in brains made 'noisy' by age and disease,” Healy explains.

Scientific American

A study by MIT researchers shows that exposing patients to flashing light and pulsing sounds could reverse Alzheimer’s symptoms, reports Angus Chen for Scientific American. “This is the first time we’ve seen that this noninvasive stimulation can improve cognitive function,” says Prof. Li-Huei Tsai. 

New York Times

New York Times reporter Pam Belluck writes that MIT researchers have found exposure to a specific combination of light and sound could improve Alzheimer’s symptoms. “It’s stunning that the intervention had beneficial effects on so many different aspects of Alzheimer-like pathology,” said Dr. Lennart Mucke, director of the Gladstone Institute of Neurological Disease.