A collection of light therapy research articles on the benefits of light therapy use for traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and concussions.
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.
Photobiomodulation and the brain: a new paradigm.
June 19, 2017
This study focused on treating Traumatic Brain Injury with LLLT. It found that after treatment, mice with TBI had improved memory & learning, increased neuroprogenitor cells, and multiple highly beneficial effects on the brain, indicating that LLLT applications are much broader than originally thought.
Transcranial light therapy improves neurological performance in traumatic brain injured mice
Transcranial light therapy is becoming more popular for treating patients who have had a stroke or traumatic brain injury. This study was able to reproduce significant improvements and attributed this to light’s ability to possibly aid in neurogenesis or the development for new brain cells
Transcranial light therapy enhances learning, memory, and neuroprogenitor cells after traumatic brain injury in mice
After their previous study found that light therapy could possibly aid in neurogenesis, these researchers went on to discover that light therapy could improve learning and memory post traumatic brain injury, with improvements being seen in just 4 weeks.
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).
Brain stimulation with low level light therapy
Many studies have clearly demonstrated benefits of trans-cranial application of low level light therapy (red and infrared wavelengths). This article goes over the main mechanisms involved which is based on photon energy absorption of cytochrome oxidase (a photoreceptor) Once these high energy photons transfer their energy to the these photreceptors of the brain, now allowing for cognitive enhancement and higher-order brain functioning. In addition, this energetic transference from these high energy light particles allows for neuroprotection, which can explain many previous studies on the benefits of light therapy for neurological conditions.
Light therapy shown to penetrate through skull
This study demonstrated that infrared and red light clearly penetrated through the skull and exerted its positive benefits directly on the brain tissue.
Near-Infrared Photobiomodulation in an Animal Model of Traumatic Brain Injury: Improvements at the Behavioral and Biochemical Levels
The purpose of this was to evaluate the neuroprotective effects of near-infrared (NIR) light using an in-vivo rodent model of traumatic brain injury (TBI), controlled cortical impact (CCI), and to characterize changes at the behavioral and biochemical levels.
Improved Cognitive Function after Transcranial,
Light-Emitting Diode Treatments in Chronic, Traumatic Brain Injury: Two Case Reports
Two chronic, traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases, where cognition improved following treatment with red and near-infrared light-emitting diodes (LEDs), applied transcranially to forehead and scalp areas, are presented.
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