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April 21, 2008

Infrared Light May Hold Key to Alzheimer’s

Infrared Light May Hold Key to Alzheimer’s

Scientists have been struggling for decades to find a cure for Alzheimer’s, and though some progress has been made in understanding the disease, so far a cure has eluded researchers. In fact, even the root causes of Alzheimer’s are at present very poorly understood.

Recently, a research team in Britain has made remarkable progress in reversing the symptoms of Alzheimer’s using an infrared light “helmet.” The helmet, which can be worn as little as 10 minutes a day emits a low level infrared light that may stimulate cell growth, repairing much of the damage caused by Alzheimer’s.

The helmet was developed by the Virulite Institute in Great Britain, and has been tested at the University of Sunderland. Researchers discovered that mice exposed to the infrared light from the helmet regained lost memory. Human trials are set to begin this summer using the same wavelength of infrared light that occurs in natural sunlight.

A growing body of evidence suggests that natural sunlight helps us to fight disease. Of course, dermatologist have been warning us for years to stay out of the sun, but if the evidence is correct, we could be denying ourselves of a powerful healing resource when we splash on the sun-block.

The Alzheimer’s helmet (which has yet to be named) is designed so that infrared light emitted from the helmet is projected into the skin of the scalp of the user around the frontal lobe and on the side and top of the skull, where bone mass is less thick.

Researchers theorize that the infrared light is penetrating the skull and healing the brain tissue beneath, though exactly how the infrared light accomplishes the healing process is not understood. With Alzheimer’s affecting millions of people around the world, the infrared helmet could be a major breakthrough in an area that has seen remarkably little progress over the past few decades.

And as the estimated 78 million so-called “baby boomers” begin to reach old age, the problem of Alzheimer’s is more critical than ever. Some experts even predict that the disease will bankrupt the United States Medicare system in less than 25 years unless researchers can establish a proven method to prevent or cure the disease.

But if an infrared light helmet can help repair cellular tissue in the brain and improve memory, scientists are also eager to find out what other possible benefits it may have. For example, it is not known if using the helmet would be beneficial to people without Alzheimer’s. In other words, could it improve the memory of a healthy individual?

As the research continues, we may soon and know the answer to these questions, and hopefully, have a real cure for the debilitating symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

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