Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia, affecting approximately 40 million people worldwide. The ineffectiveness of the available pharmacological treatments against AD has fostered researchers to focus on alternative strategies to overcome this challenge. Mechanical vibrations delivered in different stimulation modes have been associated with marked improvements in cognitive and physical performance in both demented and non-demented elderly. Some of the mechanical-based stimulation modalities in efforts are earlier whole-body vibration, transcranial ultrasound stimulation with microbubble injection, and more recently, auditory stimulation. However, there is a huge variety of treatment specifications, and in many cases, conflicting results are reported. In this review, a search on Scopus, PubMed, and Web of Science databases was performed, resulting in 37 papers . These studies suggest that mechanical vibrations delivered through different stimulation modes are effective in attenuating many parameters of AD pathology including functional connectivity and neuronal circuit integrity deficits in the brains of AD patients, as well as in subjects with cognitive decline and non-demented older adults. Despite the evolving preclinical and clinical evidence on these therapeutic modalities, their translation into clinical practice is not consolidated yet. Thus, this comprehensive and critical systematic review aims to address the most important gaps in the reviewed protocols and propose optimal regimens for future clinical application.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Auditory stimulation; Mechanical vibrations; Ultrasounds; Whole-body vibration.
© 2021. The Author(s).