Catalyst Awardee

Project Description

Population-wide preventative treatment of aging-associated cognitive impairment via adjustment of movie and TV shows frame and refresh rates

Ted Weita Lai, BSc, PhD; Hilary Chen, BPH; Ya Lan Yang, BSc;  Meng-Chih Wu, MSc; Eric Yuhsiang Wang

Competition Sponsor: Academia Sinica of Taiwan

Chronic repeated visualization of a LED light that flickers at a frequency of ~40Hz (known as GENUS: gamma entrainment using sensory stimulus) is recently found to reduce beta-amyloid plaques, improves cognitive function, and offers neuroprotection in mouse models of neurodegeneration. In comparison to the 40Hz required for GENUS, most movie films are filmed at 24 frames per second (FPS) and many TV shows are filmed at 30 FPS; also, TV sets in most households has a refresh rate of 60Hz to 120Hz, and modern TVs tends to aim for 120Hz or higher. Therefore, the typical frame rates and display refresh rates used today are not optimized to provide the 40Hz GENUS-like visual stimulation, and watching a TV/movie likely provide little benefit to preventing cognitive impairment. Since a large majority of general population tend to watch a lot of TV shows (or YouTube videos), we hypothesized that a GENUS-optimized TV output, with movies or TV shows filmed at 40 FPS and/or displayed with a 40Hz refresh rate, can provide population-wide preventative care against cognitive impairment for people of all ages. If we are able to provide evidence that watching TV at GENUS frame rate (40 FPS) and/or GENUS refresh rate (40 Hz) can provide the same therapeutic benefit as watching LED light flickering at 40Hz (which is essentially what GENUS is), the whole filming industry (and YouTube videos) may adapt to provide GENUS therapy for everyone watching TV. This could result in global population-wide decline in aging-associated cognitive impairment.

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