Lasers key to curing Alzheimer’s?
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By Julie Ann Anderson  March 7, 2014 12:00 am

One recent finding in Alzheimer’s research indicates that laser treatments may provide a pathway to an eventual cure, although scientists still need to undertake many tests and studies before knowing exactly how promising this treatment may be.

 

The study

Published online in the journal Nature Photonics, the study is entitled “Multiphoton absorption in amyloid protein fibers.” The authors, Piotr Hanczyc, Marek Samoc, and Bengt Norden, conduct research at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and at the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology.

According to the researchers, their study shows that using multi-photon laser technology can enable a doctor to look at an aggregation of proteins and determine which of these proteins are “healthy” proteins and which are the proteins that are believed to play a role in the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other brain-based illnesses.

 

Why is this helpful?

Much Alzheimer’s research indicates that removing the “bad” proteins should, in theory, either stabilize or cure the disease. 

One of the obstacles to testing this theory has been the difficulty of finding a definite way to differentiate the healthy proteins from the bad ones; healthy proteins should not be removed.

If the researchers are right, then laser technology could provide a relatively easy and non-invasive way of making this necessary identification.

Currently, some researchers attempt to treat Alzheimer’s through the use of chemicals that remove the bad proteins, but that may also affect the good proteins. 

In addition, the chemicals have a degree of toxicity that can be harmful to subjects.

The doctors involved in this new study hope that a process known as photo-acoustic therapy may prove beneficial in removing the bad proteins. The ability of the laser technology to pinpoint the appropriate proteins makes this kind of therapy more likely.

 

Much more to be learned

While this is welcome news in Alzheimer’s research, it’s important to remember this is just one study. Scientists need to learn much more before they know whether their hopes that this leads to a cure are realized; however, this type of treatment is an exciting possibility.

A diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease can trigger anxiety for seniors and their family caregivers who wonder what’s ahead as the disease progresses. So, what can someone with an Alzheimer’s diagnosis expect? There are so many questions and so many variables. One valuable resource available currently is the website www.helpforalzheimersfamilies.com.

The Help for Alzheimer’s Families website provides a variety of resources to assist families in dealing with Alzheimer’s and with a dementia diagnosis. Find tips, get expert answers to common Alzheimer’s questions and access in-depth learning resources. Learn how to protect loved ones from memory loss and empower yourself to become a better caregiver. Here, you’ll also find easy tools to locate professional Alzheimer’s care service providers.

 

Julie Ann Anderson is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park; mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.

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