September 17, 2013

CT inventor says he has Alzheimer's medical device

Photo / Steve Laschever
Photo / Steve Laschever
A 2012 photo of Eric Knight, president of Remarkable Technologies in Farmington.

A Connecticut entrepreneur with a variety of inventions under his belt says he has prototyped a medical device that may be able to treat Alzheimer's disease.

Eric Knight, a Connecticut native, longtime inventor and president of Remarkable Technologies, said he has worked on the device alone for more than three years.

"This is one of my most closely held inventions," Knight said.

He's still holding most of the details close because he's waiting for his patent to be issued. He doesn't expect details of the patent to be released for more than a year.

He also fears that some may try to emulate the device and potentially endanger themselves or a loved one.

Knight said the device — which could be as large as 15-feet across or much smaller, depending on how it's implemented — will use radio waves to remove a beta-amyloid 'plaque' that is observed on the brains of Alzheimer's patients, and is thought to play a central role in blocking communication among nerve cells.

Knight said the device would apply radio waves using "aerospace-inspired" technology that he helped develop in 2001. He would not elaborate on the technology or disclose what frequency it would use.

He said he's disclosing the existence of the invention because he's looking for partners and researchers in the medical field to help study and develop the device through a nondisclosure arrangement.

"The next step is to confirm the effect that I believe my technology will offer," he said.

Studies on electromagnetic treatments for Alzheimer's have shown that they may contain some promise, though research appears preliminary.

The Florida Alzheimer's Research Disease Center said in 2010 that it had exposed mice to cell-phone strength electromagnetic waves, which prevented some of them from developing the disease and for some even reversed memory loss.

The Beaumont Research Institute in Michigan said last year that they had some success in reducing brain plaques associated with the disease in mice using low-dose radiation treatments.

Knight's device is his first foray into the medical device space. He admits that many will be skeptical, given his lack of medical background and the fact that Alzheimer's has stumped researchers. It remains the sixth leading cause of death.

"Healthy skepticism is good in any discipline," he said. "I've undertaken many endeavors where there were skeptics."

Knight has gotten attention for a number of inventions over the years.

He was a cofounder of UP Aerospace Inc., which built an unmanned rocket to deliver payloads into space. He left the company to pursue other work in 2008.

In 2007, UP sent Star Trek's "Scotty" James Doohan's ashes into space with the remains of 199 others, including NASA astronaut Gordon Cooper.

Ten years earlier, Knight appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman to show off his wind-resistance training shirt, called a para-shirt.

He holds patents for the shirt, a method for cleaning an electric grill, a unique type of wire antenna that can function at a shorter wavelength and an underwater communication device for divers. Many of his other inventions are protected as trade secrets, he said.

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