Sound Waves for Cognitive Disorders

Scientists are currently experimenting with altering brain activity without the use of surgery through what’s called non-invasive neuromodulation, or sound waves. The technique involves pulsing minuscule mechanical vibrations to a specific region of the brain to create certain responses. It’s precarious work; if the frequency and amplitude of the sound waves are not properly tuned, they could damage the brain.1

However, the potential for this type of non-invasive technique is wide-ranging, including potential treatments for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries and migraine headaches.2

The procedure directs ultrasound waves into a specific region in the brain in order to alter neuron activity in a certain way. For example, to treat epilepsy, neuron activity would be increased to the extent that it kills the misfiring cells. For other diseases, sound waves would be used to block neuronal activity.3

Much study remains to be done. The general consensus among researchers is that neuron manipulation does work, but scientists still do not completely understand why. The parameters for treatment will have to be carefully studied and regulated, just like controlled substances, to avoid danger and the risks of misuse.4

1 Antoine Jérusalem. World Economic Forum. Nov. 7, 2018. “Mind control using sound waves? We ask a scientist how it works.” Accessed Dec. 16, 2018.


3 Ibid.