Lasers may treat brain diseases like Alzheimer's

iStock
 Researchers at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, together with researchers at the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology, have made a discovery that may lead to the curing of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the so called mad cow disease) through photo therapy.

The researchers discovered, as they show in the journal Nature Photonics, that it is possible to distinguish aggregations of the proteins, believed to cause the diseases, from the well-functioning proteins in the body by using multi-photon laser technique.

"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. We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light", says Piotr Hanczyc at Chalmers University of Technology.

If the protein aggregates are removed, the disease is in principle cured. The problem until now has been to detect and remove the aggregates.

The researchers now harbour high hopes that photo acoustic therapy, which is already used for tomography, may be used to remove the malfunctioning proteins. Today amyloid protein aggregates are treated with chemicals, both for detection as well as removal. These chemicals are highly toxic and harmful for those treated.

With multi photon laser the chemical treatment would be unnecessary. Nor would surgery be necessary for removing of aggregates. Due to this discovery it might, thus, be possible to remove the harmful protein without touching the surrounding tissue.

These diseases arise when amyloid beta protein are aggregated in large doses so they start to inhibit proper cellular processes.

Different proteins create different kinds of amyloids, but they generally have the same structure. This makes them different from the well-functioning proteins in the body, which can now be shown by multi photon laser technique.

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Zama zama crackdown: What are your thoughts on West Village residents taking the law into their own hands?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Authorities should bring in the army already
11% - 2299 votes
Illegal miners can't be scapegoated for all crime
48% - 9926 votes
What else did we expect without no proper policing
37% - 7639 votes
Vigilante groups are also part of the problem
4% - 757 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
16.65
-1.6%
Rand - Pound
20.04
-1.0%
Rand - Euro
16.93
-1.5%
Rand - Aus dollar
11.54
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.12
-0.7%
Gold
1,761.68
-0.8%
Silver
19.80
-1.7%
Palladium
2,141.00
-0.9%
Platinum
927.50
-1.1%
Brent Crude
92.34
-3.0%
Top 40
64,168
-0.9%
All Share
70,967
-0.8%
Resource 10
63,227
-3.3%
Industrial 25
87,430
+0.4%
Financial 15
16,160
-0.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE