Their results also suggest that “terahertz waves of certain frequencies and energies may be developed as new neuromodulation techniques” for the treatment or intervention of diseases such as neurodevelopmental disorders.
“The abnormal development of neurons and the resulting abnormal neural network structure can lead to a variety of psychiatric and neurological diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism and Parkinson’s disease,” he said.
Radio waves in higher frequencies can transmit more information, but can also carry more energy. Terahertz waves have a much higher frequency than the millimeter waves used in 5G which are limited to a top speed of 20 Gbps.
Airport body scanners use multiple terahertz devices, with energy waves capable of effectively penetrating fabric and producing clear images of bodies with hidden objects.
According to a 2009 study by researchers at the Russian Academy of Sciences, exposure to intense terahertz radiation for several hours a day, with a power reaching several watts, can cause brain cells to rise in temperature, inhibiting their growth. and can cause dehydration, which reduces cell size. , and other losses.
But low doses of terahertz radiation can increase the production and activity of certain proteins – such as GluA1, GluN1 and SY-38 – that are known to stimulate neuronal growth, according to Lee’s team.
This protein contains many hydrogen bonds that vibrate continuously. The frequency of these vibrations is in the terahertz band.
Terahertz waves “can pair directly with proteins and effectively cause them to resonate non-linearly,” Lee’s team said in the paper.
This “can affect the shape of the protein, and therefore the structure and function of neurons”, he said.
But the internal structure of proteins can vary greatly from one to another. The researchers said only certain proteins would respond to the relatively weak terahertz radiation.
They say that further investigation is needed to understand the changes in proteins caused by different exposure intensities.
According to the paper, the exposed brain cells will not grow forever. Two days after the initial irradiation, the growth rate slows significantly.
In a separate study, Professor Liu Jianxin of the Institute of Brain Sciences at Xian Jiaotong University in Shaanxi Province found that terahertz radiation can make young mice smarter.
According to their paper published in the study, exposure to 90 milliwatt terahertz radiation for 20 minutes daily for three weeks significantly increased the number of new brain cells in young mice. Journal of Terahertz Science and Electronic Information Technology in the month of June.
According to the researchers, these new brain cells could help mice find escape routes more quickly when their lives are in danger.
But older mice that were given the same treatment showed no improvement in the experiment.
The reason is not clear, the researchers said.