An experimental infrared helmet has proven successful in not only halting but actually reversing the progression of dementia in at least one patient.
When 57-year-old businessman Clem Fennel began to rapidly lose the ability to function due to aggressive dementia, doctors told his family that nothing could stop his decline. Instead of giving up hope, however, they turned to an experimental device developed by British general practitioner Gordon Dogual. They flew Fennel to England, where Dougal began treating him with a helmet that radiates the brain with infrared light two times per day.
“Honestly I can tell you that within ten days, the deterioration was stopped; then we started to see improvements. He started to respond to people more quickly when they talked to him,” Fennell’s wife Vicky said.
“My husband, Clem, was fading away. It is as if he is back. His personality has started to show again. We are absolutely thrilled.”
Before receiving the treatment, Fennel was unable to complete regular daily tasks.
“When we go to the restaurant we usually have to order his meals for him, now he can order for himself,” Fennel’s daughter Maggie said. “Now we are okay about letting him go to the bank or the post office but he would not have been able to do that three weeks ago.”
The helmet has not yet been tested clinically, although a trial on 100 patients is scheduled to begin before the end of the year. Dougal noted that because the helmet has not been put through rigorous trials, there is no way to know if it will work the same on everyone.
“I made it clear to the Fennells that I didn’t know for a fact whether it would work or not, but the results are good,” Dougal said. “He was monosyllabic when I first saw him, but if I ring up now he will answer the phone. He didn’t have the verbal skills to do that three weeks ago.”