Gamma band neural stimulation in humans and the promise of a new modality to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease
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McDermott, Barry, Porter, Emily, Hughes, Diarmaid, McAuley, Brian, Lang, Mark, O'Halloran, Martin, & Jones, Marggie. (2018). Gamma Band Neural Stimulation in Humans and the Promise of a New Modality to Prevent and Treat Alzheimer's Disease'. Journal of Alzheimer's Disease, 1-30. doi: 10.3233/JAD-180391
Existing treatments for Alzheimer s Disease have questionable efficacy with a need for research into new and more effective therapies to both treat and possibly prevent the condition. This review examines a novel therapeutic modality that shows promise for treating Alzheimer s Disease based on modulating neuronal activity in the gamma frequency band through external brain stimulation. The gamma frequency band is roughly defined as being between 30 Hz - 100 Hz, with the 40 Hz point being of particular significance. The epidemiology, diagnostics, existing pathological models, and related current treatment targets are initially briefly reviewed. Next, the concept of external simulation triggering brain activity in the gamma band with potential demonstration of benefit in Alzheimer s is introduced with reference to a recent important study using a mouse model of the disease. The review then presents a selection of relevant studies that describe the neurophysiology involved in brain stimulation by external sources, followed by studies involving application of the modality to clinical scenarios. A table summarizing the results of clinical studies applied to Alzheimer s patients is also reported and may aid future development of the modality. The use of a therapy based on modulation of gamma neuronal activity represents a novel non-invasive, non-pharmacological approach to Alzheimer s Disease. Although use in clinical scenarios is still a relatively recent area of research, the technique shows good signs of efficacy and may represent an important option for treating Alzheimer s Disease in the future.