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Dementia and sound stimulation

June 25th, 2024

Sound stimulation could give dementia patients a much-needed good night’s sleep – sleep disturbance is a common problem for approximately half of people suffering from dementia. Researchers have revealed that they can influence brain waves with sound, the type of brainwave associated with memory and perception changes. Sleep is a key factor in managing dementia.

Using sound is a powerful, non-invasive approach to stimulating brain waves

In a recent study by a research team from the University of Surrey and the UK Dementia Research Institute Centre for Care Research & Technology at Imperial College London, sound was used to target alpha rhythms.

Alpha rhythms are a type of brain wave associated with memory and perception, and changes to the rhythms have been found in those experiencing cognitive decline and dementia. We already know that music can have a positive effect on dementia patients but this latest information really does confirm the benefits and value of sound for medical conditions.

A senior author of the study, Dr Ines Violant who is a lecturer in Psychological Neuroscience at the University of Surrey explained, “Alpha oscillations are a defining characteristic of our brain’s electrical activity, but we still do not fully understand their role in shaping fundamental brain functions. Sound is a powerful, non-invasive approach to stimulate certain oscillations with the brain.”

Scientists hope to find ways of manipulating oscillations (rhythms) to create tools for treatment applications because they know oscillations are slower in diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

During the experiments, researchers used an innovative brain modulation technique known as Alpha Closed-Loop Auditory Stimulation (aCLAS) in which sounds are timed to the precise phase of alpha rhythms.

Measurements of electrical activity from the brain were continuously read in real-time to monitor the effects of the stimulation. When a brain wave reached a particular phase, a sound (a burst of pink noise) was played on the participant – researchers observed that depending on the phase at which the sound was played, the alpha rhythm became faster or slower.

When the researchers performed the aCLAS experiment, as participants were falling asleep, they noticed that sounds at a particular phase prevented them from reaching deeper stages of sleep.

With the information they discovered, it is evident that they can influence alpha waves with sound. The next step of their research is to find a way to modify the waves to enhance cognition and sleep, ultimately beneficial to dementia patients.

Transforming the landscape of dementia

Advances in technology have revolutionised dementia care, offering innovative solutions to support patients, caregivers and healthcare providers worldwide. Raised awareness, understanding, and improved accessibility have helped to reduce the stigma around dementia.

For the physical, emotional, psychosocial and practical challenges associated with dementia, support groups and communities are widely available. Dementia, cognitive, occupational, music, art and reminiscence therapy are successful treatments. Investments, research, advancements in pharmacotherapy, innovations and collaborations will continue to grow and, hopefully, one day, there will be a cure for all forms of dementia. Patients, family, friends and caregivers deserve to live a fulfilling life. The support and experts are available to people transforming the landscape of dementia.

There are many types of dementia

Dementia is the loss of the ability to think, remember and reason. People with dementia have difficulty completing everyday tasks, and symptoms worsen over time. Dementia is not a specific disease. It happens when nerve cells in the brain stop working properly. There are many types of dementia – Alzheimer’s, frontotemporal, Lewy body and vascular dementia. Sometimes, the changes in the brain can be caused by more than one type.

Dementia is the biggest killer of the 21st century

Dementia is one of the greatest challenges to society and health providers. It is the biggest killer of the 21st century. Statistics reveal that 1 in 3 people will develop dementia and it is estimated that one-third of people are living with dementia without knowing.

The cause of dementia is unknown, it’s a degenerative and complicated condition with no cure. Diagnosis relies on cognitive tests and brain scans to measure the level of key proteins that build up in the brain. Early accurate diagnosis will help to manage it and plan for the future. Dementia signs to look for are difficulty in understanding or expressing thoughts, memory loss, confusion, getting lost in familiar places and losing balance.

Being diagnosed with dementia can be traumatic and scary. There is the fear of the unknown, a feeling that life is over and the depressing realisation that you will have to depend on people. Being a dementia caregiver for a loved one can be difficult but there are a growing number of dementia services and support groups helping to transform the landscape of dementia.

Our Nature’s Marvel Central Nervous System Bioregulator normalises the brain and central nervous system. It helps patients with brain injuries and diseases such as chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, depression, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Helpful resources

Alzheimer’s Research UK

Alzheimer’s Society

Caring for someone with dementia at home

Dementia UK

Alzheimer’s Association’s%20Association%2024,crisis%20assistance%3B%20and%20emotional%20support.


Race against dementia

Memory Cafe directory




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