A collection of light therapy research articles on the benefits of light therapy use for Depression & Mood Disorders.
NOTE: Researchers use several terms to describe “light therapy”. Photobiomodulation, low level light therapy (LLLT), phototherapy, photon therapy, photo energy, heliotherapy, and sometimes red, blue or (near) infrared radiation are synonymous; they all refer to light therapy.
Transcranial Light Therapy produces beneficial cognitive and emotional effects in Humans
Researchers at the University of Texas at Austin, published a study in the Journal of Neuroscience, stating that this was the first demonstrated study showing the beneficial effects of transcranial light stimulation on cognitive and emotional functions in humans. With particular focus on the frontal cortex of the brain, they looked at neuropsychological tests on attention, memory and mood, following transcranial light therapy. The results of the study showed that ALL 3 parameters measured were significantly improved. This led them to conclude that “Transcranial infrared laser stimulation has also been proven to be safe and successful at improving neurological outcome in humans in controlled clinical trials of stroke. This innovative approach could lead to the development of non-invasive, performance-enhancing interventions in healthy humans and in those in need of neuropsychological rehabilitation”.
Spectral quality of light modulates emotional brain responses in humans
2010, PNAS, Research Article
Light therapy can be an effective treatment for mood disorders, suggesting that light is able to affect mood state in the long term. This study hypothesized that light might also acutely influence emotion and tested whether short exposures to light modulate emotional brain responses. During functional magnetic resonance imaging, 17 healthy volunteers listened to emotional and neutral vocal stimuli while being exposed to alternating 40-s periods of blue or green ambient light.
Latest Treatments for Depression
One of the latest treatments for depression involves something called infrared light therapy. It’s being studied at Mass General Hospital in Boston, using clinical trials.
“The near infrared light through the forehead gets to the powerhouse of the cell, which are the mitochondria and that leads to more energy in the brain areas that are close to the source of light,” says Dr. Paolo Cassano.
Cassano says the light also decreases inflammation in the brain and increases connections between neurons.
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