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Fat Laser

May 4, 2006

In the Star Wars movies, laser light sabres could vaporize an entire person. Now, in real life, scientists are using a similar principle to decimate fat cells.


Burning fat with lasers. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Lasers can erase fat cells. That’s the conclusion of dermatologist Rox Anderson of Harvard Medical School and laser physicist Fred Dylla of the Department of Energy’s Jefferson Lab. Anderson noticed that certain wavelengths of light are absorbed by fat cells, but not by other cells in the body. So Dylla tuned a powerful laser to that wavelength, and Anderson used it to zap away fat: first in pieces of pork, and then, Dylla explains, in samples of human tissue.
FRED DYLLA (Department of Energy’s Jefferson Lab):
He in fact, could, selectively kill and damage fat tissue below the skin, without affecting the skin.

In the future, he says the technique could potentially clear up cellulite, melt down excess body fat, or even scour away unhealthy fat from arteries. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.