Researchers at US firm Clarimedix have developed a skin patch that can treat Alzheimer’s disease by boosting blood flow to the brain.

The patch, about the size of a matchbox, is designed to be placed directly over one or both carotid arteries, which supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck.

It uses infrared light to stimulate mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase, an enzyme that causes the body to release nitric oxide. In turn, nitric oxide relaxes and widens the muscles that line the carotid arteries increasing blood flow to the brain.

Previous studies have shown that increased blood flow can slow progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to researchers, if clinical trials are successful, the device could be available for use within two to three years.