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Nov 6th, 2013

Curing diseases like Alzheimer’s with lasers might sound far fetched but a new study out of Europe suggests it might be an option, and a less harmful one, too. Scientists at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden and the Polish Wroclaw University of Technology published their research about photo therapy lasers and the brain in Nature Photonics this week.

Photo Therapy

Proteins in the brain of someone with dementia group up into large plaques that hinder proper cellular processes and cause cognitive decline such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. According to the findings, the scientists believe they may be able to identify masses of proteins and possibly even remove the proteins, eliminating the disease and curing dementia.

Typically, the proteins are treated with highly toxic chemicals in an attempt to discover and remove them. This new research holds the potential to replace that procedure with a much less harmful one, which may even be able to discard of the proteins without disturbing any of the surrounding area.

“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. We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light”, said Piotr Hanczyc at Chalmers University of Technology in a press release.

Potential Cures

Photo therapy is currently used for tomography, which captures a three dimensional image of internal body structures, often in the search for cancerous growths. So it’s not unrealistic to think it could perform a similar task to identify proteins in the brain.

Studies are being released regularly that identify new prevention tools and cures for Alzheimer’s. Although any new medicines and hopes of curing dementia will take years to be tested and developed, a number of findings have pointed to ways to reduce your risk of developing dementia in your daily lifestyle.

Recent studies have connected sleep problems with an increased incidence of Alzheimer’s. On the other hand, according to Mayo Clinic, eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fatty acids has been proven to improve brain health and protect against dementia.

Increase in Dementia

The number of people with dementia in the United States is expected to triple by 2050, as medical technology allows us to live longer than ever. Be sure you get to take advantage of your later years and prepare for retirement by maintaining both your health and your finances with long term care in mind.

Health care costs in retirement can destroy your financial portfolio if you have not set aside enough money for out of pocket costs or purchased long term care coverage to protect your assets.

A proper diet, regular exercise, socialization, mental engagement and other factors have been shown to reduce the risk of cognitive brain conditions and improve overall health, thereby decreasing the risk you will need care later in life. Read more about global brain research or planning for long term care in retirement.

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