Scientists believe lasers could help cure Alzheimer’s

Lasers could prove to be the key in eliminating brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. New findings from researchers at Chalmers University of Technology and the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology have raised hopes that doctors may one day be able to cure the ailments without needing to touch surrounding brain tissue. Such a technique could also replace the chemical-based treatments used to treat amyloid protein aggregates today, which involve toxic components that can put patients at risk. The researchers discovered that it was possible to distinguish aggregations of the proteins thought to cause brain disease with the help of multi-photon lasers.
“We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light” says Piotr Hanczyc of Chalmers University of Technology. “Nobody has talked about using only light to treat these diseases until now.” Singling out the harmful proteins is one crucial step, but they also need to be removed before patients can be cured of these life-altering diseases. To that end, the researchers seem hopeful that photo-acoustic therapy could be used to get rid of the protein aggregates.






Cure for Alzheimer’s closer

A treatment to reverse Alzheimer’s Disease could be available in five years, it has been revealed. Experiments on mice have indicated that a new vaccine not only halts the advance of the disease, but repairs damage already done.
It could also be given to patients whose families have a history of Alzheimer’s, to prevent them developing the disease.
The research by British, American and Canadian scientists, was being hailed last night as the most significant breakthrough yet. Harry Cayton, chief executive of the Alzheimer’s Society, said: ‘This really does make us optimistic.’
A growing number of elderly and even middle-aged people are being struck down by the degenerative brain disease, which has some 500,000 sufferers in Britain alone. It causes untold misery to families who are left to care for loved ones who may no longer recognize them.
The vaccine attacks the build-up of a protein called beta-amyloid, which forms a damaging waxy plaque on brain cells. The latest research, reported today in the scientific journal Nature, suggests the drug not only removes the proteins but can restore mental functions.






Scientists closer to Alzheimer’s cure

Scientists said they may have developed a drug that could work against Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other brain disorders that share a similar mechanism.
Still at a very early and experimental stage, the drug blocks disruption of the brain’s defence system, something that boosts neurodegenerative disease.
Many of these crippling and tragic diseases start with the buildup of rogue, scrunched-up proteins in the brain.
The organ’s response to this is to switch on a defence mechanism called the unfolded protein response, or UPR.
The mechanism orders cells to stop producing new proteins so that the problem is not worsened. But the buildup of misshapen proteins prevents the UPR mechanism from being switched off.
As a result, the misshapen proteins are no longer made – but nor are normal proteins that are essential for brain-cell survival. Neurons start to die, are not replenished, and the disease progresses.
British researchers, reporting in the US journal Science Translational Medicine, tested a drug that works on a key point in this switching pathway, an enzyme called PERK, to keep protein production open.