Health

The interactions between sound waves and living tissue were first observed and reported in the early 20th Century [1, 2].  Since then ultrasound-based therapies have been used to treat a very wide range of medical disorders [3]. Ultrasound stimulation accelerates the bone fracture repair process [4, 5]. Therapeutic ultrasound is also commonly employed to manage soft tissue lesions [6].  The ability of ultrasound to focus through the skull noninvasively has lately made it an attractive technique for neuromodulation to treat neurological disorders [7]. More recently, ultrasound has also been shown to remove amyloid plaque and restore memory in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model [8]. In addition to the beneficial therapeutic benefits of high intensity sound irradiation [9],  sound may lead to  harmful effects on health.  The evaluation of the risks of routine prenatal ultrasound imaging on a fetus during pregnancy has not considered the possible effect on intercellular signaling identified here [10]. It is also known that exposure to traffic noise in addition to that of air pollution leads to an increase in risk of cardio-vascular diseases [11, 12]. The mechanisms driving the effect of noise exposure on the function of the cardio-vascular system are essentially unknown. Finally, vibro-acoustic disease (VAD) is a pathology that develops in individuals excessively exposed to low frequency sound [13]. VAD is associated with the abnormal growth of extra-cellular matrices (collagen and elastin), in the absence of an inflammatory process seen in blood vessels, cardiac structures, trachea, lung, and kidney.  VAD appears to be a mechano-transduction disease resulting from impairment of mechanically mediated signaling in exposed tissues [13]. The effects of the physical parameters of the sound on signaling, such as frequency or intensity (amplitude), are essentially unknown.  The paradigm-changing scientific foundations laid by NewFoS will maximize the positive impacts of sound waves and phonons on society through breakthroughs such as: (1) improved public health by mitigating the effects of noise in urban and industrial environments; (2) enriched individual health from revolutionary sound-based precision diagnostic and therapeutic technologies

  1. Wood R.W. and  Loomis A.L.,  The physical and biological effects of high frequency sound waves of great intensity, London, Edinburgh, Dublin Philosophical Magazine J. Sci. 4, 417-436 (1927).
  2. Harvey E.N. and Loomis A.L., High frequency sound waves of small intensity and their biological effects, Nature 121, 622 (1928).
  3. Mitragotri S., Healing sound: the use of ultrasound in drug delivery and other therapeutic applications, Nature Reviews 4, 255 (2005).
  4. Heckman J.D., Ryaby J.P., McCabe J., Frey J.J., and Kilcoyne R.F., Acceleration of tibial fracture-healing by non-invasive, low-intensity pulsed ultrasound, J. Bone & Joint Surgery 76-A, 26 (1994).
  5. Padilla F., Puts R., Vico L., and Raum K., Stimulation of bone repair with ultrasound: A review of the possible mechanic effects,  Ultrasonics 54, 1125 (2014).
  6. Speed C.A., “Therapeutic ultrasound in soft tissue lesions,” Rheumatology 40, 1331 (2001).
  7. Tufail Y., Yoshihiro A., Pati S., and Tyler W.J., Ultrasonic neuromodulation by brain stimulation with transcranial ultrasound, Nature Protocols 6, 1453 (2011).
  8. Leinenga G. and Götz J., Scanning ultrasound removes amyloid-β and restores memory in an Alzheimer’s disease mouse model, Science Translational Medicine 7, 1 (2015).
  9. Fry W.J., Wulff V.J., Tucker D., and Fry F.J., Physical factors involved in ultrasonically induced changes in living systems: I. Identification of non-temperature effects, J. Acoust. Soc. Amer. 22, 867 (1950).
  10. Newnham J.P., Evans S.F., Michael C.A., Stanley F.J., and Landau L.I., Effects of frequent ultrasound during pregnancy: a randomized controlled trial, Lancet 342, 887-891 (1993).
  11. Kälsch H., Hennig F., Moebus S., Möhlenkamp S., Dragano N., Jakobs H., Memmesheimer M., Erbel R., Jöckel K.H., and Hoffmann B., Are air pollution and traffic noise independently associated with atherosclerosis: the Heinz Nixdorf Recall Study,  Eur. Heart J. 35(13), 853-860, (2014).
  12. Sørensen M., Andersen Z.J., Nordsborg R.B., Jensen S.S., Lillelund K.G., Beelen R., Schmidt E.B., Tjønneland A., Overvad K., Raaschou-Nielsen O., Road Traffic Noise and Incident Myocardial Infarction: A Prospective Cohort Study, PLoS ONE 7, e39283 (2012).
  13. Alves-Pereira, M and  Branco, N.A.A.C. , Vibroacoustic disease: Biological effects of infrasound and low-frequency noise explained by mechanotransduction cellular signaling, Prog. Biophys & Molecular Biology 93, 256-279 (2006).