A collection of light therapy research articles on the benefits of light therapy use for stroke recovery.
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.
Light therapy helps protect cortical brain cells
Light therapy (infrared wavelength at 810 nm) has shown benefits for a wide variety of neurological conditions, like strokes, TBI’s, neurodegenerative diseases, and even spinal cord injuries. This study may explain how this therapy can have such a diverse application, as researchers noted that the localized light application to the cortical region of the brain, produced a very significant increase in ATP. It was also found in these regions that there was a raising mitochondrial membrane potential, reducing intracellular calcium concentrations, reducing oxidative stress and reducing nitric oxide levels. These changes that were found are associated with protecting the brain cells from excitotoxicity (which is normally seen following brain injuries or in neurodegenerative disorders, and even in spinal cord injuries).
Pre-conditioning with light therapy to prevent damage caused by heart attacks & stroke
Light therapy has been used for nearly 50 years to enhance tissue healing and to relive pain, inflammation and swelling. Recently, it has become apparent that light therapy can also be effective if delivered to normal cells or tissue before the actual insult or trauma, in a pre-conditioning mode.
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 lead 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”
Dramatic improvement results in case study of brainstem stroke
A new treatment protocol using light therapy and muscle/bone/joint recovery techniques having a dramatic effect on a stroke patient’s recovery: a new weapon for clinicians.
Light therapy helps preserve muscle activity following nerve damage
In this study, part of the sciatic nerve was removed and the affected muscle area was observed for 30 days with the addition of light therapy. This area where the light therapy was applied, showed a significant reduction in muscle breakdown that would normally be observed following the innervation to the muscle. It was then concluded that light therapy would benefit by in the early stages of muscle atrophy, preserving the denervated muscle.
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