Light and sound stimulus therapy generates a buzz in Alzheimer’s research world

The often-discouraging search for ways to prevent or treat Alzheimer’s disease may have flickered to life this week with a bright new idea — and a buzzy new soundtrack as well.

In experiments conducted on mice, scientists used light and sound to orchestrate a series of episodes that were marked by an unusual state of electronic synchrony inside the animals’ brains. Prompted by a gently flickering light and a pulsating buzz — both timed to fire 40 times per second — their brains began to hum to the same frequency.

The results, published this week in the journal Cell, are already yielding some powerful insights about what may go wrong in Alzheimer’s disease, and how that process might be halted or reversed.