Power of light used to fight Parkin­son’s

The Advertiser - - NEWS - BRIGID O’CONNELL

The power of light is emerg­ing as a promis­ing way of slow­ing dev­as­tat­ing brain con­di­tions such as Parkin­son’s dis­ease.

Clin­i­cal tri­als have been un­der­way in Adelaide and across the coun­try to test whether ap­ply­ing “laser hel­mets” to the head of pa­tients could im­prove symp­toms and halt dis­ease pro­gres­sion.

A new study from the Univer­sity of Syd­ney found ap­ply­ing low-level light to other parts of an an­i­mal’s body – par­tic­u­larly the ab­domen – could be even more ef­fec­tive at pro­tect­ing brain cells.

Low level laser ther­apy, or pho­to­biomod­u­la­tion, has been used for the past 50 years, typ­i­cally to treat pain or in­flam­ma­tion. But ev­i­dence is emerg­ing of its po­ten­tial ben­e­fit for the brain.

The Syd­ney team first showed in 2010 that by shin­ing this near in­fra-red light onto the heads of mice with Parkin­son’s dis­ease, it could pro­tect against the loss of brain cells.

“Fol­low­ing that, we’ve done heaps of stud­ies that have used dif­fer­ent wave­lengths of light, al­ter­ing when we give the light – ei­ther be­fore, dur­ing or af­ter the in­jury – and we con­sis­tently show we can pro­tect the brain,” said lead re­searcher Dr Daniel John­stone.

“The prob­lem you face mov­ing into hu­mans is that, even at these longer wave­lengths we use, you lose about two thirds of your in­ten­sity for ev­ery mil­lime­tre of tis­sue you pass through. We have thick skulls.”

Dr John­stone said his team was spurred on by find­ings in stud­ies around the world that used light to treat wounds and chemo­ther­apy-re­lated mouth ul­cers, that could re­pair tis­sue not di­rectly ir­ra­di­ated.

Af­ter suc­cess­ful stud­ies in mice us­ing this re­mote light de­liv­ery, their most re­cent proof of con­cept study in three Parkin­son’s dis­ease mon­keys, found that de­liv­er­ing light to the head gave no neu­ro­pro­tec­tion. But de­liv­er­ing it to the lower legs de­layed the on­set of symp­toms, while shin­ing the light on its ab­domen pre­vented the an­i­mals from show­ing symp­toms of the dis­ease.

The re­sults were pre­sented at the Aus­tralasian Neu­ro­science So­ci­ety’s an­nual sci­en­tific meet­ing this week.

Dr John­stone said their find­ings had in­formed hu­man clin­i­cal tri­als us­ing this re­mote de­liv­ery tech­nique in Adelaide, Bris­bane and Syd­ney and they would now re­turn to mice stud­ies aim­ing to con­firm the find­ings.

He said there was “pretty good ev­i­dence” it worked to make tis­sue more re­silient and bet­ter able to deal with in­jury. PAGE 60: EDI­TO­RIAL

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.