Infrared light may reverse dementia and memory loss
Researchers at the University of Sunderland may have found a simple key
to solve the problem of dementia and memory loss and even reverse these
effects of aging.
They have shown that regular exposure to low-level infra-red light can
improve learning performance and trigger regeneration of the cognitive
function of the brain.
The results are a scientific breakthrough as
current pharmaceutical treatments for diseases such as dementia and
Alzheimer's can only slow down brain deterioration.
The researchers claim that early stage dementia patients should see an
improvement in their cognitive function within four weeks, by wearing a
specially designed lightweight helmet for just ten minutes a day. Human
testing of the infra-red treatment on the brain is due to start this summer.
The new infra-red device was created by Dr Gordon Dougal, a director of
Virulite — a medical research company based in Newton Aycliffe, County
Durham — which is also behind the innovative device for curing cold-sores.
Lead researcher at the University of Sunderland Dr Abdel
Ennaceur and Durham University’s Dr Paul Chazot are pictured with Dr Gordon
Dougal and a prototype cognitive helmet
He came up with the idea of using a safe level of infra red light on the
human brain after it had proved effective in the treatment of cold sores — a
process that relies on boosting the cells within the body responsible for
killing the virus, rather than attacking it. The infra-red light used has a
wavelength of 1072nm, which occurs naturally in sunlight and, at the
intensity levels used, is considered completely safe.
Dr Dougal said: “The
implications of this research at the University of Sunderland are enormous,
so much so that in the future, we could be able to affect and change the
rate at which our bodies age.
“As we get older, cells stop repairing themselves and we age because our
cells lose the desire to regenerate and repair themselves. This ultimately
results in cell death and decline of the organ functions, for the brain
resulting in memory decay and deterioration in general intellectual
“But what if there was a technology that told the cells to repair themselves
and that technology was something as simple as a specific wavelength of
light? Near infrared light penetrates human tissues relatively well, even
penetrating the human skull, just as sunlight passes through frosted glass.”
Dr Dougal, who claims that ten minutes of exposure to the infrared light
daily would have the desired effect on the brain, added: “Currently all you
can do with dementia is to slow down the rate of decay. This new process
will not only stop that rate of decay but partially reverse it.”
The research by University of Sunderland neuroscientist, Dr Abdel Ennaceur
has led Dr Dougal to arrange clinical trials with patients with age related
Fellow neuroscientist Paul Chazot, who helped carry out the research, added:
“The treatment can indeed improve learning ability. The results are
completely new — this has never been looked at before.
“Dr Dougal’s treatment might have some potential in improving learning in a
human situation by delivering infra red through the thinnest parts of the
skull to get maximum access to the brain.”
Further research work will continue in this area, funded by Cels, who
support healthcare research and development in universities, hospitals and
companies within the North East of England.