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Scientists Claim Infrared Helmet Could Reverse Alzheimer's Symptoms

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 6 years ago | from the feeling-light-headed dept.

Biotech 201

penguin_dance writes "Ready to put on your thinking cap? There's a report out of the UK regarding an 'experimental helmet which scientists say could reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease within weeks of being used'. The helmet is to be worn for ten minutes every day and stimulates the growth of brain cells using infra-red light. The article explains, 'Low level infra-red red is thought to stimulate the growth of cells of all types of tissue and encourage their repair. It is able to penetrate the skin and even get through the skull.' Human trials are due to start this summer." I wont make any nomad-based predictions, but I'll remain on the skeptic side of the fence for now.

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Spaceballs The Helmet! (4, Funny)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191328)

Seeing the linked article's image of the 3 Doctor's holding their experimental "Prototype Cognitive Helmet", I can't help but imagine one of them wearing it while reenacting Rick Moranis' doll-play monologue from Spaceballs:

[Playing with his dolls]
Dark Helmet: [In Dark Helmet voice] And now Princess Vespa, I have you in my clutches, to have my wicked way with you, the way I want to.
[In Vespa voice]
Dark Helmet: No, no, go away, I hate you! And yet... I find you strangely attractive.
[In D.H. voice]
Dark Helmet: Of course you do! Druish princesses are often attracted to money and power, and I have both, and you *know* it!
[In V. voice]
Dark Helmet: No, no, leave me alone!
[In D.H. voice]
Dark Helmet: No, kiss me!
[V]
Dark Helmet: No! Stop!
[D.H]
Dark Helmet: Yes, yes!
[V]
Dark Helmet: Oh, oh, oh! Ohhhh, your helmet is so big!

Do you want some coffee, Mr. Tully? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191486)

Louis: [to Egon] Do I?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Yes, have some.
Louis: [to Janine] Yes, have some.

Re:Spaceballs The Helmet! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191698)

I made mine out of TINFOIL!!! Ooooh! look a chicken...

Sergeant Detritus already has one (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192238)

Only his has a built in chiller as well.

Heeeey! Maybe we can get one for PTerry so he can keep writing Discworld books...

My only question... (2, Funny)

thatseattleguy (897282) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191340)

Will it work even if I'm wearing my tinfoil hat [zapatopi.net] ?

Re:My only question... (2, Funny)

ILuvRamen (1026668) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191432)

it seems thinner than a skull but who knows. My question is, once it makes you remember what channel the sci fi network is on, will your (infrared based) remote work? Ooh you know what would be even funnier! I'm thinking it pulses IR light in patterns cuz otherwise just plain old beaming from the sun would do it too like other ppl commented. And to get through your head, they're gonna be DAMN BRIGHT so if some escaped out part of the helmet the light pulses might change your TV. So then you'd be sitting there with the helmet on and you hit the on switch and the TV starts wildly changing channels and the volume and stuff and you're like "OMG I can't control TVs with my mind with this on!" They'll have to list that on the side effects to the treatment on the commercial. "May cause dry mouth, phantom third arm syndrome, and feeling that you can control TVs with your mind"

Re:My only question... (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191442)

Thanks for the helmet! Before wearing this, I forgot you couldn't revoke the GPL!

Don't mod be down, Bro (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191344)



Don't mod be down, Bro

Don't mod be down, Bro

Don't mod be down, Bro

Don't mod be down, Bro

Don't mod be down, Bro

Don't mod be down, Bro

Your comment violated the "postercomment" compression filter. Try less whitespace and/or less repetition. Comment aborted

I know that!

Sunlight? (5, Interesting)

teeleton (148923) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191352)

So how is this helmet different from just walking around in the sunshine? It's not like there isn't any infra-red light in ordinary sunlight.

Re:Sunlight? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191546)

If it's what I think it is, it is a specific frequency of infrared light which stimulates complex IV in the mitochondria. It has been used as a form of retinal therapy to prevent retinal cell death in methanol poisoning (at least in rats).

In cell culture tests it can sometimes help cell growth, but I'm sceptical that it will do what they claim.

The difference between this and walking around in sunlight would presumably be the intensity of the specific radiation. It would be many more milliEinsteins than would be received outside from a non-specific source like sunlight.

Re:Sunlight? (2, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191862)

Assuming that you live in a place with a regular, consistent source of sunshine.
Plus older people tend to avoid the sun, as they can't stand the heat / brightness, quite apart from the cancer risks...

Still, on a lighter note:

Doctor: I'm sorry, Mr Smith, but your wife's symptoms match either Alzheimer's or AIDS.
Smith: *gasp* What can I do, Doc?
Dr: Well, I suggest you take her into town, and leave here there. If she finds her way home, wear a condom!

Selection pressure for baldness (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191942)

I've always wondered why (many) men become bald. There would seem to be no selection pressure to cause men to lose hair and there are some obvious selection pressures for them to keep their hair. (Loss of sexual attractiveness to females, old age indication to younger rivals etc.).

Maybe hair BLOCKS infra-red light in sunlight so losing your hair when you get older helps keep your mental facilities from declining. Does anyone know if the helmet is more effective on bald people? Does anyone know if Alzheimer's is less prevalent in bald people?

This is such a cockamamee theory that I'm posting as an A/C (and I'm too lazy to log in). Also no, I'm not bald (or getting that way) thankfully.

Re:Selection pressure for baldness (1)

Paradise Pete (33184) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192168)

Also no, I'm not bald (or getting that way) thankfully.

According to your theory that should be "unfortunately," shouldn't it?

Re:Selection pressure for baldness (2, Interesting)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192240)

Maybe hair BLOCKS infra-red light in sunlight

Apparently the white hair on polar bears acts like optic fibre. It collects light over a larger surface than the bare skin of the animal and channels it to the body to keep it warm.

Re:Sunlight? (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192210)

So how is this helmet different from just walking around in the sunshine? It's not like there isn't any infra-red light in ordinary sunlight.

The difference is that Virulite (the company who makes the helmet) doesn't get paid when you just walk around in the sun.

Re:Sunlight? (1)

ElBeano (570883) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192510)

The helmet is different because of the deeper (in the skull) heating effect. Me thinks a microwave would work great for this too. But only if you could master the correct power setting and duration. Burnt popcorn anyone?

Cell phone use (1)

CustomDesigned (250089) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193238)

Since constant cell phone use has been shown to measurably raise brain temperature, could walking around with a cell phone to your ear have the same effect? Maybe if you put one on each ear? You could call one with the other. Reverse Alzheimers while talking to yourself!

It it stimulates brain cell growth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191358)

then why not use it for some personal brightening.

Having worked with mice and memory I can tell you emphatically that teaching them something and then determining that it is memory and not lower level reactive behavior is a whole can of worms in itself.

Foil, then bake. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191360)

If infrared will penetrate the skull? Then people in sunny climates should have lessor incidents of the disease?

Re:Foil, then bake. (1)

JamesP (688957) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192460)

No, maaan! It works thru the nerves, duh!!

(at least that's what I thought at first when I read this)

Re:Foil, then bake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192790)

It's spelled "lesser". Unless you also write "fewor". Did you know that "infrared" covers a large, very large piece of bandwidth? And not all these frequencies penetrate the air equally? Did you?

in other news... (1)

TheRealZeus (1172755) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191368)

Scientists Claim Infrared Helmet Could Reverse Alzheimer's Symptoms

Guess what I heard last year! (1)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191402)

Scientists Claim Infrared Helmet Could Reverse Alzheimer's Symptoms.

Now where's my Slashdot website...

So... the next logical question is... (4, Interesting)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191384)

Won't it work even better on those of us who don't have the Alzheimer's, yet?

Re:So... the next logical question is... (1)

neBelcnU (663059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191476)

I thought the next logical question was "Where's the lemon-juicer?"

Re:So... the next logical question is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191646)

That would be illegal doping. And perhaps dangerous. Except before exams.

Re:So... the next logical question is... (1, Insightful)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191678)

Won't it work even better on those of us who don't have the Alzheimer's, yet?
Yes but unfortunately it still comes to late to help President Bush and his advisers.

Re:So... the next logical question is... (1)

KlausBreuer (105581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191894)

Really? You want your brain cells to simply grow?

That's called a cancer. Feel free. Can't guarantee that you'd like it, though... ;)

Infrared or heatsink? (1)

ady1 (873490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191386)

WTF are the these small fans doing on a helmet which is suppose to have infrared?

What's up with Alzheimer's and helmets? (1)

Nrbelex (917694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191390)

Interesting... similarly... "New technology developed by Emory and Georgia Tech researchers could aid the early identification of people susceptible to Alzheimer's disease. A portable device called Detect [emorywheel.com] may provide an easier, less expensive way to test for mild cognitive impairment (MCI), which often leads to Alzheimer's. The test could provide potential Alzheimer's patients the chance to slow the disease's progress with medication before serious symptoms set in." Check out the nearly identical picture.

Re:What's up with Alzheimer's and helmets? (1)

ilikepi314 (1217898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191510)

Oh no!! Alzheimer's is becoming an epidemic! - They've already forgotten other people are working on helmets! They could really use a helmet to reverse Alzheimer's right now... I wonder if anyone has done that before...

Re:What's up with Alzheimer's and helmets? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192160)

MCI as a precursor to Alzheimer's disease doesn't exist outside of pharmaceutical fantasy land. That's why it isn't used as a screen in the population, not because the pencil and paper test takes 90 minutes (which in most cases it doesn't).

Not a scientist but ... (1)

dbcad7 (771464) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191408)

How does the light reach the brain cells ??

Does infrared light have the ability to pass through the skull ?... sounds like snake oil to me... I'll stick with my pyramid hat.

Re:Not a scientist but ... (2, Interesting)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191952)

Does infrared light have the ability to pass through the skull ?... sounds like snake oil to me... I'll stick with my pyramid hat.

Yes, infrared light can pass through the skull. In fact, there's a technique called fNIR (functional near-infrared spectroscopy) which uses a system of IR emitters and detectors to measure brain activity. Some links:

http://www.lab-times.org/methods/m_07_03.html [lab-times.org]

http://www.biomed.drexel.edu/fnir/Contents/brain_imaging/ [drexel.edu]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FNIR [wikipedia.org]

If this encourages brain growth (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191412)

Will this be the new way of people not affected by Alzheimers increasing their brain power?

This could be the new way of boosting performance for exams.....

All cell types?? (1)

Stripsurge (162174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191418)

"Low level infra-red red is thought to stimulate the growth of cells of all types of tissue and encourage their repair. It is able to penetrate the skin and even get through the skull."

Doesn't seem to be doing much for the ol' hair follicles

News Source (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191420)

Daily Mail - source of 'News for Nerds. Stuff that Matters'

head warmer? (2, Funny)

Raptoer (984438) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191438)

It shines a light on your head in the infrared spectrum... which is basically heat radiation... So it's a head warmer?

I know IR has more things than heat associated with it, but still... its a head warmer!

Skeptical and yet... (5, Interesting)

SquierStrat (42516) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191450)

My father has Alzheimer's. Most Alzheimer's patients are very kind and sweet but my father is so bitter that he is always angry because at 55 he realizes his brain is slowly killing him. His short term memory is nil. He walks especially slow and his communication is getting poorer. He was diagnosed in October 2005 and he was showing symptoms before that.

Frankly, This is an illustration of why our process of developing medications is ridiculous. This may not work (though I resent that "wontwork" tag) but frankly there are at least 3 very promising treatments for Alzheimer's Disease in early trials. But because of the length and the way trials work, if they are successful none of them will emerge from trials early enough to help my father. And frankly, he and my family would be willing to try anything to help him. And in the end the worse outcome is that he doesn't get better. But we will never know. 10 years from now Alzheimer's may be no worse than severe diabetes, MS, Crohn's Disease or what have you: controllable, not curable with a quality of life equivalent to most other people. But because we would rather not kill a dying person to find out if we'll kill them or save them, my father will never get benefit of this.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

Arthur B. (806360) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191536)

Sssshh, don't you know the FDA is here for the common good ? Moreover since we only exist as part of a society we have to accept its rules and its laws and beside it's all chosen by the majority vote so you can't complain. Now shut up, pay your taxes, don't forget to vote and be a good citizen.

I am sincerely sorry for your father, it's very sad that his tragedy is made even worse through deliberate malevolence. The regulators truly deserve the harshest punishment for their actions, unfortunately they'll probably never get it.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (3, Interesting)

ilikepi314 (1217898) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191590)

Oh come on; if one of your family members was given a vaccine and a weekly later developed some severe disease and died (even if they were already dying!), you would again go with the "deliberate malevolence" argument and probably sue someone.

Sorry, didn't mean to direct that toward you, this was actually meant to be a more general societal thing. Until people get over their sue-happy kick lately, all government entities are going to tread softly, I imagine, particularly those directly related to public health. People have sued for much less than rushing a medicine to market (coffee being hot comes to mind), so can you really blame them? Legal battles drain money from what could have funded more medicine research, etc.

However, a serious question to the parent especially: do you know how to sign up for the trials, is it too late? Someone somewhere has to be taking it or it wouldn't be a trial. I've never signed up for something like that, so I don't know what the process is and am partially asking out of curiosity myself.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (2, Interesting)

oncehour (744756) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191726)

The McDonalds Coffee incident != Frivilous. Quit eating the dogfood and research the actual facts. The coffee was knowingly and neglectfully above safe levels for hours.

I will grant that we are a sue happy society, but there's a reason for that. Being an American who's lived in Canada for a couple years I'm noticing there's a lot more government support and government agencies here. The government regulates the corporations so the average Canadian doesn't even need to think of suing. In the US on the other hand, the government tends to be a bit more laissez-faire except when they want to increase barriers of entry for their friends in the industry, and as such the people are the ones that regulate the industry.

Lawsuits are a form of regulation. Lawyers suing companies for being dickheads is actually noble behavior. I think too many people buy into the "sue-happy" stereotype without considering why it exists. Given the power of lobbying, lawsuits are the only thing that really keeps industry in check by the people.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (2, Insightful)

AngelofDeath-02 (550129) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192166)

Except it actually works the other way around ...
Corporations have bottomless wallets while the people don't. Your best bet is a class action lawsuit that returns almost nothing per individual, while the corporations can sue you instead.
I cite the RIAA and the sony rootkit incident.

Anyway, I see your point, but it's a two way street. Those with money can, and some do, abuse the system. In doing so, they ruin its reputation.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192638)

The McDonalds coffee was too hot. This meant she got third-degree burns instead of 2nd.

However, the biggest point in that court case is that she was trying to drive with a polystyrene cup of hot coffee between her legs. The woman would be a prime darwin awards candidate if she didn't have kids already.

Say what you like about the coffee being too hot, but lets face facts. The cause of the burns was her own stupidity.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (2, Insightful)

Kreigaffe (765218) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192870)

No, actually, the mcdonald's coffee case WAS entirely frivolous and a complete mockery of the court system

Coffee is supposed to be brewed HOT. It is supposed to be served HOT. You spill HOT SHIT on you, and you GET BURNT.

That woman was sold a cup of coffee that was somewhere between 180-190 F. That's hot, sure. Starbucks sells hotter coffee -- actually the crap sold by starbucks is FAR too hot to drink and tastes like it's been overroasted and brewed too hot and kept too hot for too long, but nobody goes to starbucks to buy a cup of drip coffee. That's another rant.

Coffee is ideally brewed at 200 F. It's best served very soon after brewing. That means.. it's going to be hot. Very hot. Ideally, again, somewhere between..

oh god, how can this be? Somewhere between 180-190 F.

Here's a question. Do you think a reasonable person would expect to be burnt if they spilled coffee on themselves? Hey I'll give you the answer. It's "yes". If there was a reasonable expectation that coffee would NOT burn you, the woman would have a case.

Fact of the matter is that the coffee was brewed and served correctly and the best thing to do is NOT FUCKING SPILL COFFEE ON YOURSELF AND BLAME SOMEONE ELSE.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

ibbey (27873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192012)

The FDA is the biggest example of "damned if you do, damned if you don't" in the US government. With the exception of a few right-wingnuts, nobody seriously argues that it should be done away with. Yet even though I disagree with Arthur B's basic arguments and probably pretty close to his whole ideaology, he is right that the FDA as it's set up today is causing almost as much harm as it is good. It fails to do it's most basic missions, whether it's ensuring the safety of medications (see Vioxx among others) or whether its ensuring the safety of our food supply (See Peter Pan Peanut Butter [washingtonpost.com] , and among many other massive food safety scares over the last several years).

I suspect that the course of action that I'd take is probably pretty close to the opposite of what Artur would recommend (Arthur: If I misread your political ideaology, I apologize!). I'm no expert, but there are a few things that I'd recommend: Triple, quadruple, maybe more their inspection staff so they have the ability to inspect every food producing plant at least once a year, and a least quarterly for large volume producers and plants with a history of issues. Give them more authority to shut down plants, force recalls, etc. (I'm not familiar enough with the problems of the dug saftey side to have any quick fixes, but they certainly need to be done.) Yes, all these things cost money. It would probably add a few pennies-- certainly less than $.50-- to your average daily food bill. How much is safe food worth to you?

One other thing that needs to happen for both food and drug safety and product saftey in general() is strict -criminal- sanctions against the corporate officers of any company that knowingly markets an unsafe product that results in someones death. Merck intentionally hid the fact that Vioxx increased the risk of heart attack & stroke. As many as 60,000 people died from heart attacks as a direct result of taking Vioxx, yet as far as I know, no one is in prison as a result.

Anyway. It's almost 2:30am, so I've got to crash. I hope this is somewhat coherent... Please forgive me if not.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

hyphen76 (1227364) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192344)

The real tragedy of Vioxx and similar medicines, was that, despite the side effects (which were broadly known about) they were actually a very powerful medication that when prescribed correctly i.e. to people who were in severe pain from arthiritis, were very much worth the risk. The problem lies in the companies then trying to push them further, and have them prescribed to people whose symptoms did not justify the (low) risk that usage of these medicines presented. In this case the pharmaceuticals were definitely victims of their own greed, but the FDA should also take some of the blame for not picking up on this mis-prescribing. Not ignoring the people who may well have died from this, the tragedy of this also includes the 1000's (or more?) of people in chronic and severe pain, who now cannot have it properly alleviated.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191642)

Well, I agree that the lengthy trial-after-trial-after-trial process is detrimental to those that need help "now." There should be a work-around to allow persons who are in their later years access to in-trial drugs. Just the same, long-term trials have one important goal... they are used to determine long-term side-effects. In the case of older persons, that doesn't matter much... I mean, they might die of old age before that happens right? Let's say the drug turns out to be carcinogenic, and that after 20 years or so tumors will start to become a problem. Now, for someone who is a senior... 20 years might be far too long for them to care. There's the off-chance of living to be 120, but odds are against it. However at 55, your father has a reasonable chance of living for another two decades or more, should his Alzheimer's be cured. It might take a little imagination, but think for a moment all of the potentially WORSE problems that could result over 10-20 years of taking an experimental therapy. There have been many medications that cause all kinds of terrible maladies over the course of years, usually resulting in lots of sick people and a big lawsuit that never gets settled. I am sorry already for posting this... I feel for you, I really do... but the answer to your problem doesn't lie in getting him un-tried medicines. Drugs go through trials to keep the patients safe (and to avoid being sued). If you and your father consider it worth the risks, try to contact the makers of these new therapies and offer to participate in the next clinical trial. Again, I agree that new drugs should be made available to those who really need them (when the risk of doing further harm is minimal). What we really need is a better system, one that at the same time observes the drug industry with more diligence AND opens its doors to the public at large.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

stormguard2099 (1177733) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191826)

think for a moment all of the potentially WORSE problems
Once you see a family member with Alzheimer's you will realize how frighteningly short that list is for a lot of people including myself.

Is there... (1)

do_kev (1086225) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191656)

But because we would rather not kill a dying person to find out if we'll kill them or save them, my father will never get benefit of this.

Is there perhaps any way you could get your father into some of the human trials the article mentions?

Presumably the people in these trials are simply patients themselves, namely those willing to accept the risks of an experimental treatment.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191690)

Frankly, This is an illustration of why our process of developing medications is ridiculous.

No, what is ridiculous is that people expect medical science to fix everything. I'm sorry your father is sick (mine died a few years ago), but you better make the best of the time you have together, because we all die and every day may be your last.

but frankly there are at least 3 very promising treatments for Alzheimer's Disease in early trials

Yes, and they are in trials for good reason: they may be dangerous, they make make the disease worse, or they may be ineffective. The only way of finding out is to try them out under controlled conditions, not to give them out like candy.

But because we would rather not kill a dying person to find out if we'll kill them or save them, my father will never get benefit of this.

You say that now, but if the treatments don't work, you might be one of the first complaining that you were never fully informed about the risks, how heart wrenching it is that those evil drug companies cut short the already limited time you had with your father to make big bucks, and then proceed to demand a big financial settlement.

Even if there were no regulations against it, any drug company dispensing experimental treatments to desperate patients would be foolish. And in the few cases where an experimental treatment is demonstrably "very promising", there are special programs to get the treatment out earlier. The fact that that doesn't exist for the drugs you consider "very promising" tells me that they aren't actually "very promising".

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

Yetihehe (971185) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191696)

New medicament is starting. Those who are too ill won't have benefit. It IS normal that there are some people which will not get benefit of something because it is too late for them. For not being in such a situation, all ill should be transported in time machine to future, where their illness is treatable.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

mcrbids (148650) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191770)

But we will never know. 10 years from now Alzheimer's may be no worse than severe diabetes, MS, Crohn's Disease or what have you: controllable, not curable with a quality of life equivalent to most other people. But because we would rather not kill a dying person to find out if we'll kill them or save them, my father will never get benefit of this.

Which is horse shit. Sorry. But there are plenty of areas outside the USA where "experimental" treatments are available right now. Places where restrictions on these kinds of treatments are non-existent. Where giving your beloved a teaspoon of bleach with breakfast is either perfectly legal, or at least never prosecuted if you throw 100 quid at the local law enforcement officer.

Do your homework. If you feel this is really a legitimate treatment, take a flight to Mexico or Belize, or wherever your homework leads you is a good place, and make it so. No, I'm not kidding.

Based on your post, I'd guess that you aren't willing to do this. In which case, your father isn't worth moving to Mexico or Belize in order to "save". So shut up, or move. Whining does you no good, and annoys the rest of us.

The USA has very conservative medical oversight. That has its pluses and minuses. Deal. There's a booming industry in "medical vacations" to places like India and Mexico where Americans take advantage of treatments that are either unavailable in the USA, or are delivered much cheaper abroad.

Read up, and good luck!

Autonomy vs Social Obligations (1)

Smordnys s'regrepsA (1160895) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191780)

I hate to say this, but the companies placed their time and effort (read "money") into developing this drug. They have a right to distribute that time and effort as they see fit. You can't force them to help you just because you can offer something in return for their help. As autonomous beings (or corporations) they do have the right to refusal.

Really, they don't give a damn about your father - only the money his insurance could give them, or the money his lawyer could take away from them. Right now they're focusing on eliminating the second, while increasing the first. How much more would you pay after enduring another year of this? It's not like this is a disease that directly kills the poor bastards effected by it. How much less would they have to pay if they find there are significant permanent side effects before making the decision to sell to millions of patients?

And frankly, he and my family would be willing to try anything to help him.

...and that right there is the reason the government requires these studies. Unless you want to believe me when I say, "I heard tazering an Alzheimer's patient in the left underarm while stomping his nuts will greatly improve his condition" (I'll guarantee 1 out of 10 study medications will have worse side effects with less results). It is not a question of killing versus curing, it is a question of possible torture for no result vs slight improvement (with optional possible torture).

I really feel your pain - Alzheimer's destroys both your loved one and your opinion of your loved one, but your dad simply was born too early. Be glad that you were born at a time where you can know that in 10 years you won't have to worry about this horrendous disease.

Re:Autonomy vs Social Obligations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191868)

The grandparent poster wasn't so much complaining about the companies but the government restrictions on access to experimental treatments. If it were legal and they weren't held liable for the horrible consequences of the treatments with unexpected size-effects, I'm sure the companies in question would be happy to sell more experimental treatments to dying patients.

Because the alternative is even worse (1)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191850)

Godwin freaks, piss off for a bit will you.

The nazi's had your approach, they believed that killing people if it might save others was a good idea, especially if the people were being killed were less worthy anyway. Who is going to be the subject of your medical experiments? There is an awfull lot of research that would go a lot faster if only we had human trials with less restrictions.

To this day a lot of the research from that era is still the ONLY research available because nobody else allows us to kill people to really see what kills them. All modern hypothermia research for instance can only guess at what the limits are, because it is not acceptable to truly freeze a person to death.

There are plenty of examples even in modern times of ethics going wrong. Google for "medical research foster childeren new york" and you will find a case where somebody without ethics decided that people should be volunteered for medical research. Nazi germany or trying to save others, others of more value then foster childeren?

Who is going to volunteer your father? Himself, a person with reduced mental capacity? You? The facility that takes care of him?

And what part of medical research? Part of experiments to find new medicines involve giving otherwise perfectly healthy subjects a disease so you can be sure that you are ONLY working on that disease and nothing else. Would you volunteer your father to have his back broken to research potential cures for spinal injuries?

Sadly the current system does let people die who could have benefitted from drugs in development, but the alternative is just to horrible to contemplate. We need very strict ethics when it comes to experimenting on human beings (and for that matter on animals) because if we don't, we are no longer human.

I rather die from some disease then live in a society where people are experimented on at the whim of drugs companies.

Also remember this, your father is dying, he is not death yet. Where there is live their is hope. But if some researcher of on wild goose chase injects something nasty to see what happens, then he will very death indeed.

I understand your pain, but for the sake of one human being we cannot loose our humanity.

Also your post seems naive, are you really willing to kill your father to save someone else? Because you end the sentence with "my father will never get benefit of this." Sorry, you father would be a lab rat, society benefits, the lab rat doesn't.

Even if the medicine your father would get would really work, the only way to be certain is dissection, your father would have to be killed after the experimental drugs were administred to be certain it was the drugs that cured him and not something else. Those lab rats that get cured from the disease they were infected with don't life much longer then the control group. All end up on the dissection table.

Sorry, your idea is horrible, if human beings were a better type of person we might be able to do it, but humans are just to inclined to pure evil for it to not lead to horrible abuses.

Re:Because the alternative is even worse (1)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192028)

Google for "medical research foster childeren new york" and you will find a case where somebody without ethics decided that people should be volunteered for medical research.

WTF, I googled for it and it didn't return any results [google.com] . They don't want us to hear the truth, dude.

for the sake of one human being we cannot loose our humanity

That's right, that would be just immoral and unethical to try to save that person. Not helping him and letting him die slowly from his horrible disease is the only humane thing to do.

Even if the medicine your father would get would really work, the only way to be certain is dissection, your father would have to be killed after the experimental drugs were administred to be certain it was the drugs that cured him and not something else.

How insightful, sounds like you know damn well how clinical trials on people are conducted.

"Congratulations Mr. Smith! Thanks to our new retro-viral treatment we have vanquished every last cancerous cell in your body. You only had 6 months to live, now you could live to see your great grand-children grow up. Don't thank me quite yet, Mr. Smith. When you signed up for this treatment you agreed for us to kill you and cut you open to be certain it was the drugs that cured you and not something else. Life is unfair Mr. Smith, life is unfair!"

Re:Because the alternative is even worse (1)

jafiwam (310805) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192528)

It turns up this article and you saying that now.

But, if you are going to be snarky, at least try not being a complete moron and don't use quotes around your search criteria in Google while at the same time failing to make a complete sentence.

Medical journals tend to use complete sentences. So maybe try two phrases instead.

Re:Because the alternative is even worse (0, Troll)

4D6963 (933028) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192640)

It turns up this article and you saying that now.

Well it didn't at the time I posted because that was before Google indexed the comment I was replying too, aduuuuh.

at least try not being a complete moron and don't use quotes around your search criteria in Google

WHOOSH! That was the joke, you triple imbecile!

while at the same time failing to make a complete sentence.

What the hell are you talking about, fool?

Re:Because the alternative is even worse (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192042)

The nazi's had your approach, they believed that killing people if it might save others was a good idea, especially if the people were being killed were less worthy anyway.

I'm sorry, but WTF are you talking about? The person you're responded to said nothing about wanting to test drugs on his father against his will. As it is now, terminally ill patients can't even get access to drugs that haven't gone through the lengthy process of federal approval yet, even if they explicitly want to take the risk (since they're dying anyways).

Even if the medicine your father would get would really work, the only way to be certain is dissection, your father would have to be killed after the experimental drugs were administred to be certain it was the drugs that cured him and not something else.

Wow, all participants in clinical trials are dissected afterwards? That's news to me.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191902)

Yes, yes. My dad has advanced Parkinson's with the dementia and it's fuckin' horrible. You do NOT want that. He'd be willing to try anything promising (and he's gung-ho too, being a doctor himself) and sign a no-sue statement, no problem. But it doesn't work that way, you can't do that. It's crap.

Even if you're one of the few lucky enough to get into a trial, half the time you're given a placebo and some other percentage get some tiny dosage that probably won't do anything. And then the trial might end and they stop giving you the drugs anyways (there was a huge fuss a year ago about that - some treatment was actually working, but they refused to continue giving out the drugs because there were some potential side effects. So everybody has to die instead.) Goddamn nanny state fuckers.

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191918)

You know, as harsh as the situation is, look up the details on this. There's nothing stopping you as a private person getting together some components and having a go yourself. Hell, document what you do and you may even help other sufferers as well. Make one of these helmets and give it a go. As you say, what harm is it going to do? It can't make him worse, can it? It seems a fairly simple idea; no pulsing or signals are required, just a low level IR source in a head gear. So get some strong IR LED's, a bike helmet and cut a hole for some fans/heatsink and see how he does. Hope it works.

a lot harder than it sounds (2, Interesting)

alizard (107678) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192356)

from one of the company's press releases: [209.85.173.104]

I have spent the last 10 years working with Dr Gordon Dougal, medical doctor and scientist, exploring the effects of infra red light on living cells. We started off using cold sores (herpes simplex) as a clinical model to search for a therapeutic waveband of light within the infrared spectrum. After treating many hundreds of cold sores, and utilising basic scientific principles with the help of Durham University, we were successful in identifying 1072nm wavelength light to be therapeutic with properties antagonistic to harmful ultra-violet light.


Tried finding 1072nm near-IR emitters lately?

I just spent 10 minutes searching, the stuff I've seen tops out at about 880 nm.

Re:a lot harder than it sounds (1)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192546)

Granted it ain't easy to source the LED's, but they do exist; I know this purely from the fact that this study is using some of them. They didn't make them themselves, and that therefore means a company, somewhere, makes 1072nm IR LED's. Failing that, there is a pumped 1072nm laser for sale. Dunno how you could incorporate that into a treatment regimen, but it could be done, I'm sure.

Re:a lot harder than it sounds (5, Insightful)

Wizard Drongo (712526) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192624)

Oh, and your google-fu is lacking, Sir, because a brief search of my normal LED suppliers gave me this: http://www.roithner-laser.com/LED_diverse.htm [roithner-laser.com] which admittedly is 1070nm (2.5mW) nominal output rather than 1072nm. However, given that it's minimum is 1020 and it's maximum 1120 i'd say you're gonna be getting a fairly hefty amount of 1072nm light out of it. I notice they also do a high-power (like 150mW) LED panel which radiates at 1050nm (peak 1000~1100nm), which again isn't right on the money but is gonna give you enough to trial, given that they were talking about this clinical trial dosing patients with about the same amount of IR as regular sunlight. Granted these diodes don't come cheap, with the quoted price for the 1070nm LED being about $20 each, which given the number you'd want could get pretty expensive. But then, what cost is health?

Re:Skeptical and yet... (1)

Cancel-Or-Allow (1073192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192052)

I'm wondering how complicated this thing really is. Can't I just get a bicycle helmet and wire 1000 ultra bright ir LEDs and 3 cooling fans too? I would love to see more plans on this device so I can make my own. I've been fighting anxiety for years and am willing to try alternative remedies as all of the medical ones are failing. I know it is intended for Alz but it also mentioned anxiety. Screw the FDA and the trials. If the FDA existed when penicillin was invented it would never have been approved.

I would also love to see how this sleep helmet [sky.com] works.
I hate waiting for trials too. At this point I'm willing to try anything too.

Buy the compound to research yourself (1)

Upaut (670171) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193208)

But because we would rather not kill a dying person to find out if we'll kill them or save them, my father will never get benefit of this.

Actually, while a compound is still going through FDA trials, it is easier to get ahold of to the lay person then if it "passes" the trial. The chemical manufacturers are now churning out those compounds for research trials, and anyone can buy them for "non-human research only". As well as some license a "research supplier" to also handle sales of these compounds to individuals. Case in point: I am very pale, and do not tan well... So I buy Melanotan II (was mentioned in Wired a few years back)... Now I'm tanned, thinner, more muscular, and have a much greater sex drive (the pleasant side effects of this compound.. A great drug if the FDA would get off its ass and approve it.). So hunt down the drugs you have heard about, and see if its been killing any animals. Call the scientists and say you are doing a research piece on their companies work, and ask how the drug, and how much of it, is to be administered. Call them at home if possible... Most scientists love talking about their work for hours, without thinking of the consequences of the information given... I know I do...

The only thing is, if you do that, and something goes wrong... You are kinda out of luck. But it beats a slow death without your mind any day.

And you can find out if the company has any other offices. If they have a manufacturing branch in either India or China, then you can buy there much easier then in the USA... Though you might have customs trouble.

You will never believe me... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191456)

Sharks with freakin' laser beams saved my life.

Symptoms may be reversed in minutes--not weeks (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191464)

Another therapy reported in Science Daily shows reversal of Alzheimer's symptoms in minutes, rather than weeks

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080109091102.htm [sciencedaily.com]

From the article:

"An extraordinary new scientific study, which for the first time documents marked improvement in Alzheimer's disease within minutes of administration of a therapeutic molecule, has just been published in the Journal of Neuroinflammation.

"This new study highlights the importance of certain soluble proteins, called cytokines, in Alzheimer's disease. The study focuses on one of these cytokines, tumor necrosis factor-alpha(TNF), a critical component of the brain's immune system. Normally, TNF finely regulates the transmission of neural impulses in the brain. The authors hypothesized that elevated levels of TNF in Alzheimer's disease interfere with this regulation. To reduce elevated TNF, the authors gave patients an injection of an anti-TNF therapeutic called etanercept. Excess TNF-alpha has been documented in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with Alzheimer's.

"The new study documents a dramatic and unprecedented therapeutic effect in an Alzheimer's patient: improvement within minutes following delivery of perispinal etanercept, which is etanercept given by injection in the spine. Etanercept (trade name Enbrel) binds and inactivates excess TNF. Etanercept is FDA approved to treat a number of immune-mediated disorders and is used off label in the study."

Re:Symptoms may be reversed in minutes--not weeks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192564)

"The new study documents a dramatic and unprecedented therapeutic effect in an Alzheimer's patient: ...

Note the word "an", as in one.

Over drive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191466)

Mmmm! What's cooking for dinner?

Well (1)

Psychotria (953670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191480)

By the look of that helmet, I'd be able to replicate it by strapping my computer box to my head. If I then set the box to calculate some insanely difficult task, like tic-tac-toe, the heat would penetrate by brain and make me effectively immune to degenerative diseases of the the brain.

Re:Well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191888)

Dear Psychotria;

Some people have tried strapping an XBox360 to their head in order to get better at Halo. This however caused cranial overheating and the dreaded Blue Brain of Death. Survivors are only able to play World of Warcraft, and require colostomy bags. For this reason, I do not recommend it. However, if your local Best Buy Geek Squad technician says it's okay, by all means go ahead.

Now I know (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191482)

...where the PSU fans for my PCs have gone! Are they there to prevent your brain cooking while being bathed in the infrared grill? ...here! [dailymail.co.uk]

Research Alluded to in the Article (1)

vsage3 (718267) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191488)

I couldn't find a link to read the article but here [nih.gov] is the abstract.

For the lazy: Middle aged / young rats are put in a 3D maze with some middle-aged mice receiving 6 minute daily doses of IR. Middle aged mice treated with IR show (nebulously-termed) improved memory but do not navigate the 3D maze more quickly as a result.

Doesn't sound like such the panacea the Dailymail article makes it out to be.

Obviously a fake... (1)

lordsid (629982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191564)

I've been trying to mute my gf with the TV remote for years. Its done nothing for her.

Infrared & Opacity (1)

LaskoVortex (1153471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191568)

Will it work through my tin foil hat?

Where is the new obligatory... (1)

kharri1073 (1036550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191580)

whatcouldpossiblygowrong tag?

baldness (1)

nguy (1207026) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191586)

Well, it may not reverse Alzheimer's, but it will reverse hair loss! Guaranteed!

Boobs. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191606)

stimulate the growth of cells of all types of tissue
Hmmm...

Alternatively, have the researchers tried putting an oversized suction cup plumbed to a vacuum pump on the patient's head to grow brain cells?

But seriously, the weather (3, Funny)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191652)

An 80-year-old couple is having trouble remembering things, so they go
                to the doctor to make sure there's nothing wrong.
                After an exam, the doctor says, "You're physically okay, but you guys
                might want to start writing notes to help you remember things."
                That night they're watching TV when the old man gets up from his chair.
                His wife says, "Where are you going?"
                He says, "I'm going to the kitchen to get a glass of water."
                She says, "Will you get me some Vanilla ice cream?"
                He says, "All right."
                She says, "Don't you think you should write it down?"
                He says, "I don't have to write it down. Vanilla ice cream."
                She says, "And could I have strawberries and whipped cream?"
                He says, "All right."
                She says, "Don't you think you should write it down?"
                He says, "I don't have to write it down.Vanilla ice cream with
                strawberries and whipped cream."
                Twenty minutes later he walks in and hands her a plate of bacon and eggs.
                She says, "You forgot my fucking toast."

Weasel words ftw... (2, Insightful)

NewbieProgrammerMan (558327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191658)

"...an 'experimental helmet which scientists say could reverse the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease..."

"Low level infra-red red is thought to stimulate the growth of cells of all types of tissue and encourage their repair..."

I guess I'm just a cynical bastard now, but having weasel words in a story like this whispers, "snake oil" or, "wishful thinking" to me. Maybe it's because all the people selling quack stuff are careful about how they say things for legal reasons, and now I put too much effort into scrutinizing how medical claims are worded. Call me when it's actually curing Alzheimers in a no-shit, double-blind, randomized study with more than a handful of participants.

Re:Weasel words ftw... (2, Insightful)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191970)

I guess I'm just a cynical bastard now, but having weasel words in a story like this whispers, "snake oil" or, "wishful thinking" to me.

Uh, they're scientists engaging in very preliminary research, and you're criticizing them because they're being honest about how experimental it is? They aren't making any medical claims whatsoever. They're just basically saying "we found this interesting result in rats, let's see if it also applies to humans."

Call me when it's actually curing Alzheimers in a no-shit, double-blind, randomized study with more than a handful of participants.

Well yes, I'm sure if their next stage of research confirms their findings, that's the eventual plan. We'll be sure to call you when their research is complete.

if this works on improving cognition in (1)

alizard (107678) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192378)

Alzheimer patients, what would this do when applied to people with "normal" cognitive functioning?

Infra-red light for $chlong Enlargement? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191682)

FTA

> Low level infra-red red is thought to stimulate the growth of cells of all types of tissue and encourage their repair.

sounds like with the right type of "helmet" this could be a good for schlong enlargement.

But... (3, Funny)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191694)

Will it help me remember what I actually wanted when I went down the steps to the basement?

Reminder (2, Funny)

phorm (591458) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192798)

Don't worry about that, I can remind you...

Your last words before doing so were "mom, I'm going back to my room now" :-)

CRS (1)

TwoBit (515585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191898)

I want to cure my Alzheimer's, but I keep forgetting to wear my helmet.

I, for one ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22191904)

I, for one, welcome our new infrared-emitting tinfoil hat overlords.

It's helpful? (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22191944)

[blockquote]'Low level infra-red red is thought to stimulate the growth of cells of all types of tissue and encourage their repair. It is able to penetrate the skin and even get through the skull.'[/blockquote]
That's funny. When I leave the infrared transmitter for my wireless headphones on when I go to bed, I don't seem to sleep as well.

But . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192008)

does it run Linux?

Wiimote (1)

n3tcat (664243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192206)

Did Johnny Chung Lee figure this one out too?!

IR Penetrating the Skull? (0)

PhotoGuy (189467) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192218)

The bit about infrared light penetrating the skull seems to set off the BS detector to me. Any of the sciency types amongst us have comment on that? They use ultrasound to penetrate human goo for a reason; I've never heard of infrared being used to get past skin, much less bone.

And of course, even if it does, it could upset your2 phrenological balance :)

Re:IR Penetrating the Skull? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192996)

It happens all the time buddy. You just don't see it.
And you don't try to feel it either. Go to the country.
Whanna know why you feel relaxed there? No cables. No 60Hz fields around you.
Just what you need. Ecosystem takes care of you if you let it.

Unicorn

infra-red light = low dose of radiation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192234)

Isn't infrared light a low dose of radiation? I remember our teacher said that once. It's not healthy at all... I'm they're trading one problem for another (Cancer).

The end of giant pharmaceuticals (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22192896)

Every disease is, in essence, an anomaly on our EM fields. We're biorobots.
Let's see them try to patent ElectroMagnetism next. That will be fun.

Unicorn

"Just what is the truth behind Madonna's (0, Offtopic)

dgun (1056422) | more than 6 years ago | (#22192912)

mysterious bruises?" Madonna's bruises take 2nd billing to a fountain of youth helmet? What type of publication are these people running?

Tin foil hats? (1)

Alzheimers (467217) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193234)

The tin foil hats are eating the color red. All frying goes noggin into the sea. Wash the green flamingo with utmost jump.

Over star to tape and grass. I like pie!

Suggestion for brand name (1)

autophile (640621) | more than 6 years ago | (#22193260)

They could call it the Alzheimer's Subcranial Stimulation hat. Otherwise known as the... nah, I'm not going there.

--Rob

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