Recent research by Dr. Li-Huei Tsai and her colleagues at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has demonstrated the power of flickering light in combating Alzheimer’s disease in mice.
Alzheimer’s disease affects over 5 million people in the US alone. It is a type of dementia that effects learning, intellectual ability, memory and behavior. Dr. Alois Alzheimer discovered clumps of amyloid plaques and tangled tau brain fibers in a woman’s brain in 1906. Another notable feature of Alzheimer’s disease patients is lack of healthy gamma wave oscillations. So far, attempts to use drugs to prevent or clear amyloid plaque formation have been unsuccessful.
Inside the human brain are billions of different neurons. The junctions between different neurons are called synapses. Electrical signals fire through the brain synapses, bringing millions of neurons into synchrony in cycles, or waves. These are known as brainwaves. The speed and amplitude of these brainwaves are linked to certain states of consciousness, which are classified into five distinct categories. These brainwave frequencies range from delta waves (.5-3hz) to gamma waves (25-100+hz). Your synapses actually fire in all of these different frequency waves simultaneously, however one frequency at a time is usually dominant. Each person’s brainwave signatures (combinations of waves including amplitude of each brainwave) are unique.
Gamma Brainwaves and Dr. Tsai’s Study
Gamma brainwaves, which are impaired in patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, are the highest frequency of brainwaves. They are associated with higher learning, deep meditation, altruism and communication between different parts of the brain.
Instead of trying to directly clear the amalyoid plaques or untangle the tau fibers, Dr. Tsai and her team focused on the gamma wave. They found that they could encourage the mice’s brain to produce gamma waves by using flashing lights at 40hz. Microglia (the brain’s cleanup crew) were activated by this stimulation and returned to the their normal job of assisting with the immune response by consuming the harmful amyloid beta plaque.
Therefore, after flashing a 40hz frequency for 1 hour at mice with Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Tsai and her team found a 50% reduction of beta amayloid plaques. The original effects only worked for 12-24 hours. After this period the microglia became sluggish again and the amayloid plaques began to build back up. Thus, they tried again. This time they gave the mice 1 hour of 40hz stimulation for 7 days in a row. They saw great improvement. They also saw a marked decrease in the tangled tau fibers in the brain, which is another main feature of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Bottom Line
As Alzheimer’s is considered an irreversible and progressive brain disorder, this study represents very exciting research. Whether this will work on humans as effectively as mice remains to be seen. As Dr. Tsai herself commented as the main result of the study, “Our findings uncover a previously unappreciated function of gamma rhythms in recruiting both neuronal and glial responses to attenuate Alzheimer’s-disease-associated pathology.”
Also exciting though is Dr. Tsai’s approach, which activates the brain back to normal functioning without drugs, so that it can heal itself.
Access the full journal article here: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v540/n7632/full/nature20587.html
Listen to an entertaining podcast about it here:
When I first experienced the Lucia nearly 4 years ago, the very first thing I remember was being welcomed by a “warm glow.” Many people include this “warmth” in their descriptions of their encounters with the Lucia N°03. In fact, the Lucia N°03 company has a patent on this potent combination of solid and flickering light. Instead of just being shoved under strobe light (which can cause high anxiety for many people), the Lucia always welcomes you in with soft light provided by the central halogen bulb and gently guides you back when a session is over.
2. VARIABILITY OF INTENSITY
The combination of the solid and flickering light provided by the Lucia N°03 creates an absolutely unmatchable experience – an experience that can reach everyone, in every moment. Feeling stressed, exhausted or anxious? No worries, try a gentle session! There are over 20 gentle sessions to choose from. Feeling ready for something intense and powerfully moving? There are over 40 strong sessions to choose from. Would you like a session that is relaxing but still has moments of climax? How about a Dimensions session? Or what about one that starts gently and then slowly builds up? Stargate sounds great! The Lucia can offer it it all. With over 100 pre-programmed sessions (and many more in the works) you have a vast array of sessions to choose from. And remember – no experience is ever the same! Even if you choose the same session over and over – it will be different for you each time!
3. PAUSING IN YOUR FAVORITE MOMENT
Lucia N°03 sessions go through a variety of different frequencies and levels of brightness, which cause different visual effects. Most people find moments when they feel absolutely lifted, joyous -- overwhelmed with gratitude and positivity. The Lucia N°03 has the unique ability to pause in these moments and extend them for as long as possible. This feature is great for light attendants – you can pause the session when you see your client break out into a grin or drop into a deep meditative state. It is also great if you are giving yourself a session, for you can pause it whenever you feel like it, for as long as you’d like, with a simple click of the mouse. There is even a session called “Lazy Sunday Afternoon” that was designed specifically for this purpose. It is only 10 minutes long, but travels through a wide range of frequencies, so you can pause and dive in to a vast array of different incredible visuals, created by the unique beauty of your own mind.
4. DYNAMIC BRIGHTNESS LEVELS
Another wonderful feature of the Lucia N°03 is the option to change the brightness of the lamp during a session. This is a wonderful feature for light attendants, for if a client is wincing against the brightness of the light, the light attendant can turn down the brightness, immediately making the experience more comfortable. Additionally, the halogen in the center softens the brightness as well, so you are not just being blasted by LEDs that can’t be turned down much, but rather you can choose your experience and make it the perfect one for this perfect moment. If you are giving yourself a light session or would prefer to adjust the brightness yourself, you can also use the mouse to adjust the brightness on your own.
5. CREATING LIVE SESSIONS
Once you get to know the Lucia, you can start to not only develop your own sessions – but you can create live sessions as well! You are essentially a DJ of the light, creating loops of different intensities and creating an absolutely unique session for the person on the light. You can even record the session so you can try it for yourself later!
6. TAKING A SNAPSHOT
Once you delve into the world of creating your own sessions, you can start to customize them by recreating moments that you or your client already love with the snapshot function. Simply click the roller of the mouse and a photo of the arrangement of frequencies and brightness with be saved for later – allowing you to recreate the moment yourself for a uniquely designed session.
7. MAKING A PLAYLIST
It is now possible to upload playlists of your favorite mp3s onto the Lucia N°03 laptop – so you can play music and give sessions all from the same place!