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40 Hz for Brain Health

Well my friends, it has been a while since we last hung out, but it was worth the wait. I come back from my blog vacation with a picture of my goats who have been keeping me busy this summer, and some fascinating information that will stimulate your brains (both literally and figuratively). This comes to you courtesy of one of my brilliant patients who leaves me with knowledge about the more interesting things in life every time we meet. So give him an anonymous and energetic high five for sharing his wisdom with us.

Physics has taught us that light and sound travel in waves. The frequency of these waves is measured in hertz (Hz). Did you know that our brains work in what they call gamma frequency range (30-100 Hz) with a specific focal point of 40 Hz? Every time you create a thought, a little neuron creates a vibrational shift in your mini universe that is measurable. Pretty wild! What’s even more exciting is that research has shown that people suffering with the diagnosis of dementia and Alzheimer’s have decreased gamma activity, especially 40 Hz activity, and researchers are using this frequency as treatment with some interesting results.

There are so many studies about this that it was hard to narrow the results down but there was one published in the Cell Journal in 2019 (link listed below) that piqued my interest. While most of the studies have focused on auditory or visual stimuli at 40 Hz, this study also combined the audiovisual stimulus. This study was on mice, so not a direct correlation to us, but the results are still very important. (Note that other studies have been done on humans, please do more searching if you would like to follow down this rabbit hole on your own.) They found that after seven days of auditory 40 Hz stimulation the mice had improved spatial and recognition memory and reduced amyloid and tau (protein build ups that occurs in the brains of patients with dementia). This is showing not only observable behavior changes but actual physical changes within the brain tissue. Wow!

I feel like this type of research opens a whole space in my brain for wanting to know more. Like, are there frequencies that might create an environment for protein plaques in the brain to form more easily, what frequencies are emitted when we take a walk in nature, are there sub or supra-audible frequencies that might do the same thing, are there other medical conditions that might benefit from sound therapy? This is literally something someone could spend their entire life studying. Maybe reading this article will turn you into that person? Who knows? But it leaves a lot of really great room to start discussing the validity of tuning forks and sound bowls as treatment options and preventative measures to illness.

Thanks for reading. I’ll be back next month with a series of articles discussing the things to health and science that we don’t usually appreciate talking about in public ;-) See you soon.

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