No, it’s not a joke. According to a very serious scientific study published in the journal The Lancet, the music of the group Queen, and in particular a title, would stimulate the production of insulin in a few minutes. A discovery that could change diabetes treatments in the future.
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by excess sugar in the blood linked to the absence of insulin production or insufficient production of insulin by the pancreas. The treatment of this disease is now based on the implementation of lifestyle and dietary measures, whether or not associated with taking oral medication or insulin injections. It is a compelling disease. Based on this observation, Swiss researchers have worked on ways to stimulate the production of insulin in a natural way with the aim of making life easier for diabetics. Their work demonstrated that music could trigger cells to release insulin within minutes.
“We will rock you” more effective than “The letter to Elise”
Professor Fussenegger and his team have enclosed in capsules design cells that produce insulin and can be implanted in the body. They implanted them in lab mice. They then tested different methods that could trigger the production of insulin from the outside: light, temperature, electric fields and sound waves.
Regarding sound waves, the researchers tested several types of music. They found that the music genre that elicited the strongest insulin response was rock at a volume of 85 decibels. Of the rock songs tested, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” had the best insulin response. “The song triggered 70% of the insulin response in five minutes and all of it in 15 minutes. These results are comparable to the natural insulin response induced by sugar (glucose) in healthy people.”explained Professor Fussenegger in the study.
To trigger maximum insulin release, the music must continue for at least three seconds and be interrupted for no more than five seconds, the researchers say. By comparison, the insulin response was lower with classical music.
Sufficient sound stimulation to cover the insulin needs of a diabetic
The researchers point out that the test with music was only conclusive when the mice had their stomachs glued to the loudspeakers. “Our design cells only release insulin when the sound source is played directly on the skin above the implant”they said.
Other sound sources such as conversations, ambulance sirens, lawnmower sounds or even fire sirens, were tested on mice. But these did not trigger the production of insulin by the conception cells. Which means that if these cells were implanted in humans, there would be little chance that they “release insulin continuously and at the slightest sound”, reassure the authors of the study. On the other hand, this original sound stimulation “could cover the typical needs of a diabetic patient who takes three meals a day”, said Professor Fussenegger.
A method that works with other proteins used for therapeutic purposes
More research will need to be done before this method possibly becomes a treatment for diabetes in the future. Moreover, the clinical application is not foreseen for the moment. Nevertheless, these works have the merit of having shed light on the control of certain networks internal to the human body by external mechanical stimuli such as sound waves.
Note that this system works with any protein that can be used for therapeutic purposes, so not only with insulin. An advantage that could perhaps appeal to a pharmaceutical company in the near future…