New therapy could ZAP away Alzheimer's and Parkinson's
Swedish, Polish scientists say light therapy could rid brain of harmful protein
Diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, are caused by harmful protein clumps surrounding healthy proteins in the brain. Now - scientists suggest that light therapy, which involve lasers could be used to fight the buildup of such tissues in the brain.
With the introduction of laser therapy, the chemical treatment would be unnecessary, as would surgery.
The scientists say they have discovered a way to distinguish clumps of the proteins believed to cause the diseases from the well-functioning proteins in the body by using a laser imaging technique.
"Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now," Dr. Piotr Hanczyc, of Chalmers University of Technology, in Sweden, said.
"This is a totally new approach and we believe that this might become a breakthrough in the research of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
"We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light."
When the protein clumps are removed, the disease is theoretically cured. The issue up to this point has been detecting and removing the clumps.
Researchers now have high hopes that light technique, which is already used for scans such as CT scans, may be used to remove the malfunctioning proteins.
Amyloid protein clumps, associated with Alzheimer's, are treated with chemicals, both for detection as well as removal. These chemicals are highly toxic and harmful for those treated.
With the introduction of laser therapy, the chemical treatment would be unnecessary, as would surgery. It may even be possible to remove the harmful protein without touching the surrounding tissue.
These diseases arise when amyloid beta proteins are clumped in large lumps so they start to inhibit proper cellular processes.
"Different proteins create different kinds of amyloids, but they generally have the same structure," Dr. Hanczyc said.
"This makes them different from the well-functioning proteins in the body, which can now be shown by multi photon laser technique."
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