The Light Fantastic

pratchett_helmet.jpg

Author Terry Pratchett wears an experimental helmet that directs infrared bursts into his brain to promote cell growth in an attempt to halt the onset of Alzheimer’s. [Daily Mail]

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10 Responses to The Light Fantastic

  1. AlmostReadytoFly says:

    This blog post I read suggests that it’s not entirely implausible, but nothing like a reputable medical trial either.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Actually infrared has excellent ‘penetretive power’. There is a window of wavelengths (something like 750-900 nm) where it passes straight through the body -either side of this window photons are either absorbed by water or blood in the tissue. It’s useful in some nanoparticle-assisted cancer therapies, where an infrared laser is used to selectively heat nanoparticles that have been made to aggregate within the cancerous tissue (therby killing the tissue). This is a very active area of research with many peer-reviewed, published papers. NIR photons have a much lower energy than x-rays etc so no risk of messing with DNA and actually causing cancer.

    (As an aside, high energy is not required to penetrate the human body. E.g. you are transparent to radio waves!)

    Of course I have no idea whether IR can help alzheimers, or whether this guy is a wacko.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I got a restorelite from that dr a few years back and i still use it, that works a treat as a safe alternative to botox and i just recently heard they have virulite on NHS prescription.

    Seems to me this inventor is one of the best things to have happened to England and I hope he proves all the pessimists slating the helmet wrong! For the sake of being able to cure dementia and for the sake of the unecessary negative attitudes towards this mans research and wor.

    in my eyes he deserves some gratitude for attempting the device and trying to make something that could help people in the long run.

    What have you invented lately those of you criticising him? He has had success with his other LIGHT devices give this man a break and a medal for putting up with englands ungratefulness!!!

  4. Takuan says:

    from #4

    “Now, I don’t want to suggest that the light helmet is debunked. It is possible that it could work. The problem is that the authors have,spent a year issuing bullish press-releases and collecting celebrity anecdotes when they should have been conducting proper, clinical trials. Until they demonstrate clear results, it is not reasonable to believe that this system works, but it is reasonable to believe that Drs. Dougal, Ennaceur and Chazot have a somewhat cavalier attitude to their research claims. It is not one that I, nor most scientists, approve of.

    Or to summarize even further: Evidence please sirs, or stfu.

    Update:
    Since I wrote this piece earlier today, HolfordWatch have made me aware of an article by the excellent blogger “Gaylard” from last July, which quoted the doctor saying in the Mail on Sunday that: “Dr Dougal stressed that a full, clinically controlled trial would be needed before his anti-dementia helmet could be licensed for public use. A trial of 100 patients is expected to start later this year.”

    So a promised clinical trial on 100 patients in late 2008 has changed into an uncontrolled trial on 20 patients in mid-2009…”

  5. AceJohnny says:

    “Powerful ursts of infrared light” ? Pardon me, but how can that light traverse the skin, let alone the skull, to affect the nerve cells inside his brain?

    We’re not talking gamma radiation here. Infrared has poor penetrative power.

    pterry, I know you’re hanging on to what you can, but please don’t fall for kookery :\

  6. PaulR says:

    I’m going out on a limb here, but off hand, I’ll say that it’s not going to work…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Poor bastard.

    Both my grandfathers died from Alzheimer’s.

    Good luck but it seems pretty wacky to me.

  8. HarshLanguage says:

    Previously on BB… http://www.boingboing.net/2008/01/25/helmet-for-alzheimer.html

    No new details on the efficacy of the treatment since then? Disappointing.

  9. kathode says:

    If I had Alzheimer’s and money, I’d wear crazy hats too. Hope is worth the price.

  10. Daniel Amos says:

    Get better Terry! Sphereworld will not be the same without your mind.

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