London (England) - A new infrared-blasting helmet could stop and possibly even reverse Alzheimer's disease. British researchers developed the helmet for human testing after similar treatments improved brain function on middle-aged mice. The infrared light supposedly stimulates brain cells to regenerate and, according to the researchers, can reverse dementia in just a few weeks.
The helmet was developed by Dr. Gordon Dougal, a researcher at the Virulite medical research company. Using infrared lasers, the helmet beams light directly into the brain to stimulate regeneration. Interestingly enough, the technique was originally meant to treat cold sores.
Dougal claims a ten minute blast of light every day can slow and possibly reverse Alzheimer's disease. To help prove this, Dougal enlisted the help of University of Sunderland professor Dr. Abdel Ennaceur and Durham University professor Dr. Paul Chazot. They discovered that a six-minute a day blast of infrared light on middle-aged mice improved maze times after just ten days. Early human tests showed that eight out of nine people showed "some" improvement after a few weeks of exposure.
While the black helmet may look like a funny toy (pic on the Daily Mail UK website), Alzheimer's is no laughing matter. Disease sufferers gradually lose brain function as plaques block neuron signals. Eventually, the victims often do not recognize relatives and cannot even care for themselves. The Alzheimer's Association of America says five million Americans are afflicted with the disease and the direct and indirect costs to the economy are a staggering $148 billion annually.