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“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 says.
For an hour each day, she placed them in a box lit only by a flickering strobe.
The mice — which had been engineered to produce plaques of the peptide amyloid-β in the brain, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease — crawled about curiously.
Now, a growing body of evidence, including Tsai’s findings, hint at a meaningful connection to neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases.
The work offers the possibility of forestalling or even reversing the damage caused by such conditions without using a drug.
Although a single firing neuron cannot be picked up through the electrodes of an EEG, when a group of neurons fires again and again in synchrony, it shows up as oscillating electrical ripples that sweep through the brain.
Those of the highest frequency are gamma waves, which range from 25 to 140 hertz.
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Scientists suggested that these waves could be helping to solidify memories.
Brainwaves also seem to influence conscious perception.