Brain cells

When I went to medical school, the belief was that you got your full quota of brain cells at birth. It was downhill from there, and you entered old age with not many brain cells left.

What a joy it is to know that this belief is a load of rubbish.

Here is a great article, summarising recent research on the birth of new brain cells during our lives.

It is a reminder that you use your brain or you lose it, so lifelong learning stimulates the birth of new brain cells.

I can recommend learning a musical instrument – you can do it at any age. Making music on your own instrument really makes your brain work, whether you are a beginner or an old hand at it.

And use your Eliza, Cossack or Coronet each day. Red and near infrared light stimulates the birth of new brain cells.

Red lights preserve brain cells…and make more of ‘em

Prof John Mitrofanis gave an excellent presentation today to clinicians at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

He took the audience through the ten plus years of research into red lights and Parkinson’s in animal models.

Continue reading “Red lights preserve brain cells…and make more of ‘em”

Pulsing light and Alzheimer’s disease

I’ve been reading articles suggesting that Alzheimer’s disease is linked with a disruption of brain wave patterns, especially the gamma waves which are predominant in the brain when we are concentrating and focussed.

One group increased gamma wave activity in Alzheimer’s mice by pulsing light. In this research, it wasn’t the light that was of interest to the researchers, it was the pulse rate. They used 40Hz, in the gamma brainwave frequency range.

Here is a great report about that experiment and it’s implications.

stimulating neurons to produce gamma waves at a frequency of 40 Hz reduces the occurrence and severity of several Alzheimer’s-associated symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. 

It seems that pulsing the light does more than enable red light to penetrate more deeply into the brain. Pulsing at 40Hz seems to stimulate the brain’s immune and clean-up cells, the microglia to get cracking with brush and pan.

I have visions of microglial cells dancing to the 40 Hz rhythm as they clear up brain rubbish, including the proteins that accumulate in Alzheimer’s – amyloid and tau.

In 40Hz pulsed red light, the brain gets the benefits of the red light action inside the cells, and the benefits of brain-protection activities stimulated by brainwaves responding at 40Hz.

Fascinating stuff, isn’t it.

Meanwhile, if you are feeling worried that your Eliza or Cossack doesn’t pulse, don’t fret. The daily light dose is doing its work. More.

Article on Alzheimer’s disease

Philip Ball’s article in The Guardian is terrific.

It explains many complex aspects very clearly, especially amyloid and tau proteins and the history of different approaches to drug development.

Read to the end, where he mentions the possible link between Alzheimer’s and the bacteria that cause gum disease.

Seems like we should embrace teeth-cleaning with far more enthusiasm and hope.

It won’t hurt.

Hot off the press…

Transcranial red light can improve Parkinson’s disease symptoms. This article calls for increased recognition of the huge potential of Photobiomodulation as a safe, home-based therapy in neurodegenerative diseases.

The article Exploring the use of transcranial photobiomodulation in Parkinson’s disease patients has just been published in the journal Neural Regeneration Research.

It is based on the work of Dr Frank Nicklason, Dr Catherine Hamilton, Prof John Mitrofanis, Nabil el Massri and David Hamilton.

This article provides a strong argument for faster action in clinical trials. The improvements being experienced and documented by daily light hat users provide convincing and exciting evidence that red lights on the brain do something good. Continue reading “Hot off the press…”

Neuroinflammation vs Neurodegeneration

I’ve been reading an interesting 2016 review article called Cytokine networks in neuroinflammation.*

Click here for the abstract.

Some of the differences between neuroinflammation and neurodegeneration are beautifully explained. Both diagrams come from this article.

Background

Cells in our body and brain produce cytokines, small proteins that are powerful and wilful little beasties. They provide a very effective means of cell communication, and can “orchestrate complex multicellular behaviour”.

Over 300 different cytokines have been identified, but some of them have shown that in one situation they will behave in one way, but in another situation the same cytokine will do the complete opposite.

Cytokines are part of the body and brain’s response to something going wrong. But cytokines themselves can go haywire (called cytokine network dysfunction or dysregulation) and set up and maintain cascades of activity that can ultimately cause harm to the tissue.

Continue reading “Neuroinflammation vs Neurodegeneration”