Laser and light therapy treatments for several medical conditions make progress

Low-level laser/light therapy—known as photobiomodulation—was a hot topic at the 2015 American Society for Laser Medicine & Surgery (ASLMS) Annual Conference (April 22-26, 2015; Kissimmee, FL), as the conference featured a track of abstract sessions discussing several medical uses for the method.

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There, clinical scientists discussed the use of photobiomodulation to reduce lymphedema; treat melasma; prevent photodamage; manage neuropathic and back pain; and improve functional fitness in the elderly and muscular endurance, according to Raymond J. Lanzafame, MD, MBA, co-director of the photobiomodulation sessions at the conference. "Animal studies demonstrated that light can be used to influence autonomic activity and manage hypertension. These studies further our understanding of the broad range of influences that light has on biological systems and provides more evidence that light can be used in a way that is similar to the use of drugs to treat disease and prevent injury," he says.

Gerald R. Ross, DDS, who was co-director for the combined Photobiomodulation/North American Association for Light Therapy (NAALT) session, says that neuropathic pain is seen more often in our aging population, and pharmacology has shown limited results. Photobiomodulation, though, eliminates the negative side effects of medications, he points out.

In November 2015, the NIH U.S. National Library of Medicine (MeSH) plans to adopt "photobiomodulation therapy" as an official MeSH term.

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