An international team of scientists is claiming laser-light therapy may one day be used to identify, treat, and possibly even cure such vexing neurological conditions as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease — the human version of "mad cow disease."
In findings published in the journal Nature Photonics, researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology determined that it is possible to distinguish clumps of the proteins believed to cause the diseases from the healthy proteins in the brain using multi-photon laser techniques.
"Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now. 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," said Piotr Hanczyc at Chalmers University of Technology. "We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light."
The researchers believe lasers could be used to not only detect the protein clumps, but also remove them — effectively curing the diseases. Today amyloid proteins can be treated with chemicals, but they are highly toxic and harmful.
With lasers, such chemical treatment would be unnecessary because they could remove the harmful proteins without touching the surrounding healthy tissues.
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