Lasers can be used to treat different types of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, or the mad cow disease, claims new research.
Interestingly, the multi-photon laser technique was found promising in detecting the brain diseases and curing them without causing any harm to the brain.
The findings are based on the initiative taken by a team of researchers from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland.
The researchers explained in the journal Nature Photonics how light can be used to distinguish aggregations of proteins that caused these diseases from the others.
"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 of Chalmers University of Technology, in a news release. "We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light."
Neurodegenration is the umbrella term used to describe the diseases that affect the proper structure and function of the brain, often causing cell death. Proteins normally assume a folding shape and a three-dimensional structure is essential for proper functioning of a protein. Many of the neurodegenerative diseases are caused by the aggregation of misfolded proteins.
Till date, chemicals and surgery have been used to diagnose and remove these amyloid protein aggregates. However, these methods are unsafe and can cause damages to the brain. The new photo therapy is expected to ensure more safety than the toxic chemical treatment and surgery, by helping to remove the harmful proteins, without touching the surrounding brain tissues.
The method of using light to treat different types of medical condition has been prevalent from a long time. Phototherapy using ultraviolet light is used to treat several skin conditions (psoriasis, atopic eczema) and cancer (cutaneous T cell lymphoma).