Low-level light therapy shows promise for treating brain injury, diseases

A multidisciplinary team of researchers investigated the use of photobiomodulation to treat injury and diseases of the brain.

A multidisciplinary team of researchers from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (Bethesda, MD), Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU; Portland, OR), and low-level light therapy (LLLT) system maker LumiThera investigated the use of photobiomodulation to treat injury and diseases of the brain. Using a transcranial laser system and human cadaver brains, the research team was able to gain a better understanding of light propagation through tissues, including scalp, skull, meninges, and brain.

"Photobiomodulation, a form of light therapy, is now being recognized as a viable treatment for nervous system disorders," says Juanita Anders, Ph.D., a Professor of Anatomy, Physiology and Genetics and Professor of Neuroscience at Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. "Transcranial photobiomodulation is the noninvasive delivery of light to the brain for the treatment of brain injuries, neurodegenerative diseases, and mental illnesses. The data presented in this paper establish that near-infrared wavelengths can penetrate the scalp and skull. Recognition of wavelength-dependent transcranial and intraparenchymal light penetration is very important in establishing the potential use of light to treat the brain."

Full details of the work appear in the journal Lasers in Surgery and Medicine; for more information, please visit http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lsm.22343.

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