Saturday, 10 December 2016

'Flashing light therapy' for Alzheimer

'Flashing light therapy' for Alzheimer

Flashing Light Therapy – Fight Off Alzheimer’s


As per US scientists, a flashing light therapy could be beneficial in fighting off Alzheimer’s after conducting trials on mice. The researchers observed that there is a possibility to reduce the levels of beta amyloid plaque in the visual cortex typical to Alzheimer’s disease in mouse.

Their discovery had been reproduced in the journal `Nature’ wherein Li-Huei Tsai and his team informed that the research can be carried further to check if this method could be utilised in the treatment of Alzheimer’s patients.

 The method seems to hold a lot of potential since it is accessible and non-invasive. The team at Massachusetts observed that shining a strobe light into the eyes of rodent encouraged the protective cells to eat up the harmful proteins which tend to amass in the brain in the case of dementia.

Accumulation of beta amyloid protein is said to be one of the earliest changes in the brain in the case of Alzheimer’s disease. It tends to cluster together forming sticky plaques and is said to cause nerve cell death together with memory loss. Researchers have been looking for various options of preventing plaque formation by using drugs though the result proved to be disappointing.

Rate of Flashes – 40 Per Second


However Dr Li-Huei Tsai and his team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have now discovered another option of treating the disease by using light.The precise rate of flashes is said to be 40 per second which is only a perceptible flicker, four times as fast as a disco strobe.

The mice that they had researched had been genetically engineered to have Alzheimer’s kind damage in their brain, as per Nature journal reports. When they had been placed before the flashing light for about an hour, it had led to a evident reduction in beta amyloid over the following 12 to 24 hours in the areas of the brain which handle vision. Performing this activity on a daily basis for a week gave rise to even better decline. Similarly, light stimulation directly to the area of the brain which tends to deal with memory of hippocampus resulted in decline of beta amyloid.

Clearing Beta Amyloid/Preventing Plaques


The researchers have informed that the light is beneficial by recruiting the help of resident immune cells known as microglia which are scavenger that eat and clear harmful or threatening pathogen and in this case, the beta amyloid. It is expected that clearing of the beta amyloid and preventing more plaques from developing could stop Alzheimer’s and its symptoms.

Researchers state that this method could be utilised in testing humans. Permission has already been sought from the US regulator, the Food and Drugs Administration wherein they have set up a commercial company in developing the technology. The scientists have informed that in the future, people could wear exceptional goggles and sit before a light emitting device in order to get a therapeutic dose of the strobe light which could be completely painless as well as non-invasive.

A very low intensity, very ambient soft light could be used. They further informed that the set-up is not offensive at all, emphasising that it should be safe and would not cause epilepsy for those who tend to be vulnerable.

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