Lasers could detect brain diseases
New research suggests that laser beams could be effective in detecting and even destroying debilitating brain disorders, such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The laser technique, described in the journal Nature Photonics, involves using lasers to distinguish between normal brain tissue and abnormal brain tissue in people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (the human form of mad cow disease).
The study specifically focused on amyloids—clumps formed by proteins in the brains of people with these diseases. The researchers found that the lasers passed right through healthy proteins in the brain but were absorbed by amyloids.
The exact role of amyloids in brain diseases remains unclear. Also, the study was conducted only in free-floating proteins, not in living animals. But, according to the researchers, the findings open up a new approach to fighting brain diseases.