Lasers Could be Key in Treatment of Brain Diseases

Posted in Lasers by Qmed Staff on November 4, 2013

Lasers may play a pivotal role in the treatment of neurological diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer's, according to research recently reported on The Verge.

Normally functioning protein on the (left) is optically invisible to high-power laser light. Linked to Alzheimer's, amyloid, on the right, might be potentially cured using laser-based therapies. Image: Piotr Hanczyc.
 

In the study, researchers discovered that it was possible to distinguish protein aggregations through the use of a multiphoton laser. Certain protein aggregations are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology and Chalmers University of Technology found that it possible to distinguish protein aggregations through the use of a multiphoton laser. Certain protein aggregations are associated with an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

"We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light,” noted Piotr Hanczyc, a researcher at Chalmers. "Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now."

While distinguishing these protein aggregations is an important first step, this process wouldn’t be able to treat brain diseases on its own. However, researchers believe that photoacoustic therapy might be an effective way to break down these aggregated proteins. Mad cow disease (also known as Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease) could also be treated with this novel technology.

The photoacoustic effect involves the formation of sound waves following light absorption in a material sample.