Conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's could be cured in the future with lasers.
This is according to a new study carried out by Swedish and Polish scientists which found that it is possible to distinguish which proteins in the brain are causing the illnesses and eradicate them with light therapy.
The team believes the same method could be used for Crutzfeldt Jakob disease (CJD) also.
Dr Piotr Hanczyc from the Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg said that the use of light for these conditions has not been considered until now.
"This is a totally new approach and we believe that this might become a breakthrough in the research of diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease," he stated.
"We have found a totally new way of discovering these structures using just laser light."
Until now, the issue has been determining which clumps of protein are causing a problem and which ones are needed by the brain.
In theory, removing the correct clumps would cure a condition.
Currently, chemicals are used to detect and remove proteins, but these substances are toxic and can have a negative effect on patients. Using lasers would make these chemicals unnecessary.
A recent large-scale international study found that a person's DNA could hold the key to which people are most at risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Geneticists from 145 institutions around the world looked at the DNA of 17,000 people with the cognitive condition and 37,000 people of normal health.
They identified 21 genes which make a person more susceptible to the illness.
Around 820,000 people are currently living with some form of dementia in the UK and that figure is expected to rise above the one million mark by 2021 if a suitable cure is not found.
Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, affecting 62 per cent of patients.
Find out more about Alzheimer's disease care at Barchester homes.