The Helmet That Could Turn Back Alzheimers at the Speed of Light

Daily Mail (London), January 25, 2008 | Go to article overview

The Helmet That Could Turn Back Alzheimers at the Speed of Light


Byline: David Derbyshire

AN EXPERIMENTAL helmet which scientists hope might reverse the symptomsof Alzheimers disease within weeks of being used is to be tried out onpatients.

The strange-looking headgearwhich has to be worn for ten minutes every daybathes the brain with infra-red light and stimulates the growth of brain cells.

Its creators believe it could reverse the symptoms of dementia, such as memoryloss and anxiety, after only four weeks.

Alzheimers disease charities last night described the treatment as potentiallylife-changing, but stressed that the research was still at the very earlystages.

Around 38,000 people in Ireland have dementia, with around 35,000 sufferingfrom Alzheimers disease.

The helmet is the creation of Dr Gordon Dougal, a director of Virulite, amedical research company based in County Durham in the north east of England.It follows a study at the University of Sunderland which found infra-red lightcan reverse memory loss in mice.

Dr Dougal claims only ten minutes under the hat a day is enough to have aneffect.

Currently all you can do with dementia is to slow down the rate of decay. Thisnew process will not only stop that rate of decay but partially reverse it, hesaid.

Low level infra-red light is thought to stimulate the growth of cells of alltypes of tissue and encourage their repair. It is able to penetrate the skinand even get through the skull.

The implications of this research at Sunderland are enormousso much so that in the future we could be able to affect and change the rate atwhich our bodies age, he said.

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