Los Alamos National Laboratory

Los Alamos National Laboratory

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Positive Vibes

Noninvasive sound waves—instead of surgically implanted electrodes—to relieve all manner of debilitating brain disorders
November 13, 2015
Positive Vibes

Los Alamos’s Dipen Sinha has developed a specialized technique for using sound waves to stimulate neurons in key brain regions.

“We already have good evidence that direct stimulation can relieve a number of serious disorders—including Parkinson’s disease, chronic pain, and deep depression—and even increase creativity.”

From Parkinson’s to Alzheimer’s, from depression to chronic pain, direct stimulation (or suppression) of misfiring neurons appears to provide relief—but only with an extremely risky brain surgery not yet approved for many of these conditions. But Los Alamos’s Dipen Sinha is working on a potential alternative using sound beams originating outside the head. With a technique called parametric mixing—Sinha has seven patents for this—two crossed beams would deliver an acoustic signal to the beams’ intersection point only, in the specific region of the brain that needs it.

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