Tags: light | heart | attack | therapy

Can ‘Light Therapy’ Treat Heart Attack?

Friday, 27 April 2012 12:37 PM

University of Colorado School of Medicine scientists have found a surprising new way to treat heart attack patients using nothing more than intense light.
The technique, which may work by somehow affecting the body’s internal clock, might one day be used as a complementary approach to other common heart attack treatments – CPR, aspirin and clot-busting drugs.
"The study suggests that strong light, or even just daylight, might ease the risk of having a heart attack or suffering damage from one," said Dr. Tobias Eckle, lead author of the research, published in the journal Nature Medicine. "For patients, this could mean that daylight exposure inside of the hospital could reduce the damage that is caused by a heart attack."
Eckle and his colleagues said the connection between light and heart attack may be tied to the so-called circadian rhythm -- the body's clock that is linked to light and dark. The circadian clock is regulated by proteins in the brain, but they also exist in other organs such as the heart.
Eckle’s team found one of those proteins helps limit damage from a heart attack. During a heart attack, little or no oxygen reaches the heart, which causes it to switch from its usual fuel – fat – to blood sugar. The study found the newly identified protein is vital for that change in fuel, which limits heart damage. What’s more, the research team found strong daylight activates the protein in animals and minimized damage from a heart attack.
Eckle said the researchers will now examine how light can change heart metabolism in humans and how this could be used to treat heart attacks in patients

© HealthDay

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Light may affect the body’s internal clock and limit the damage caused by heart attacks.
Friday, 27 April 2012 12:37 PM
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