New advances in photomedicine, the use of different frequencies of light to do such things as correct vision, remove birthmarks, close vericose veins,
and graft skin may lead to many other uses of light as therapy. The use of low-intensity light has resulted in a blue-light emitting device that
destroys plaque and may replace the toothbrush, a way of killing bacteria without the fear of resistance, and a multitude of other uses.
Four decades after doctors first harnessed high intensity lasers for surgery, scientists are now making dramatic advances like Forsyth's in training
lower-intensity visible light -- the blues, greens, reds, and yellows of the rainbow -- on diseases like gingivitis, ulcers, and even cancer. The FDA
has already approved the use of light therapy to treat symptoms of cancer of the lung and esophagus.
Using light to kill bacteria also seems to avoid the problem -- common with antibiotics -- of resistance. No matter how much light is aimed at the
bacteria, they seem unable to develop the ability to outsmart the beams, the way they do when bombarded with antibiotics. H. pylori, a common stomach
bacteria that has been implicated in stomach cancer and ulcers, has been unable to survive blasts with a blue ''light wand," according to LumeRX, a
two-year-old local company that has tested the wand in animals. ''Blue light seems to cause the H. pylori to self destruct, and it seems to not harm
anything else, even other bacteria in the stomach that you need for digestion," said Tom Hennessey, chief financial officer at LumeRX, which is
housed at Boston University's Photonics Center.
Researchers at the Wellman Center are also exploring the use of photodynamic therapy to reconnect tiny nerves and tissues that are severed in
accidents or need to be repaired after surgery. Harvard dermatology professors Irene Kochevar and Robert Redmond are developing a procedure they call
''light-activated tissue bonding." They apply a pink dye to torn tissue to stain it, then expose the area to low-level green light for about two
minutes, triggering the stained tissue to stick together. ''One day after you do the bonding, the dye is gone. There are no sutures or staples,"
Anderson said. ''Light-activated tissue bonding could be used all over body, in plastic surgery or internal surgery," he added. ''It works very
well in small, delicate structures where we are trying to do repair."
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Photomedicine has been used for over 40 years to heal and fix the body as mentioned in the article, but these new advances will take light treatment
to an entirely different level if applied. Blue-light that kills plaque in 30 seconds, light that kills bad bacteria in the stomach but not good
bacteria, light that reconnects nerves, it all seems like it's coming out of a science fiction movie.
There is also mention of low level green light, that when applied to the skin after a pink dye is painted over the area to be worked on, bonds tissue.
In just two minutes, the light activates the dye and causes the stained tissue to stick together. With more advances on the horizon, we could well be
entering a medical revolution.
[edit on 12-7-2005 by zhangmaster]