15:47 12 December 2016
A team of US researchers from Massachusetts has obtained promising results after trialling flashing light therapy on mice saying that it could help ward off Alzheimer’s. They found that shining a strobe of light into rodent’s eyes encouraged protective cells to gobble up the harmful proteins that accumulate in the brain in people with this type of dementia.
The researchers, who are planning to test the therapy in humans, are now seeking permission from the US Food and Drugs Administration and have set up a commercial company to develop the technology.
The therapy is hoped to prevent the build-up of beta amyloid protein in the brain, which is one of the earliest changes seen Alzheimer’s patients. Researchers have been trying to prevent such plaque formation using drugs but the results have been disappointing.
Dr Li-Huei Tsai from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology said: "We are optimistic."
"We can use a very low intensity, very ambient soft light.
"You can hardly see the flicker itself.
"The set-up is not offensive at all," they said, stressing it should be safe and would not trigger epilepsy in people who were susceptible.
Dr David Reynolds, of Alzheimer's Research, UK said: "Studies like this are valuable in revealing new processes implicated in Alzheimer's disease and opening new avenues for further research.
"While mice used in this study showed some key features of Alzheimer's, it is always important to follow up these findings in people."