Home Cellular health Infrared light therapy could help fight dementia

Infrared light therapy could help fight dementia


image: Tracy Sloan with the infrared light therapy headset. Tracy used the headset to try and improve her memory.
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Credit: Durham University / North News & Pictures

According to the researchers, infrared light therapy could potentially help people with dementia.

A pilot study, led by Dr Paul Chazot, University of Durham, UK, and Dr Gordon Dougal, Maculume Ltd, found improvements in memory, motor function and processing skills in healthy people having normal intellectual function for their age.

As a result, the researchers said transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (PBM-T) – where infrared light is self-delivered to the brain using a specially designed headset worn by the patient – could also have effects. benefits for people with dementia.

They pointed out that more research into the use and effectiveness of the therapy was needed, but that the results of their pilot were promising.

The research is published in the journal Photobiomodulation, photomedicine and laser surgery.

The research saw 14 healthy people, aged 45 and over, from the UK, given six minutes of PBM-T twice a day at a wavelength of 1068 nanometers over a four-week period. This was done alongside a control group of 13 members using a PBM-T dummy headset.

Scientists performed a series of memory, verbal and motor skills tests on participants in both groups before and after the treatment period to see what functional improvements could have been achieved.

Researchers found significant improvements in motor function performance (finger tapping), memory performance (mathematical processing, a type of working memory), delayed memory, and brain processing speed, in healthy people who received PBM-T versus those in the placebo control group.

Participants did not report any side effects caused by the treatment.

Research co-lead Dr Paul Chazot, Department of Biosciences at Durham University, said: light for short periods of time.

“Although this is a pilot study and more research is needed, there are promising indications that therapy using infrared light may also be beneficial for people with dementia and it is worth looking into.” explored. Indeed, we and our US research collaborators also recently published a new independent clinical study that provides the first evidence of profound and rapid improvement in memory performance in dementia.

“We know that infrared light of particular wavelengths can help reduce nerve cell damage, amyloid load and reduced blood flow to the brain, which are common in people with dementia. It could therefore be used as a form of revolutionary multimodal therapy. ?

“This could provide a new disease modifying strategy for dementia, with the potential to alleviate many of the serious problems faced by people with dementia and reduce the burden on their caregivers.”

The PBM-T headset was designed by Dr Dougal, who is also a practicing GP based in County Durham, UK.

It works by delivering infrared light from 14 fan-cooled LED light arrays deep in the brain, focused by the skull, at a wavelength between 1,060 and 1,080 nanometers, delivering 1368 J of energy to the skull during each six-minute treatment cycle.

This stimulates the mitochondria which generate most of the chemical energy needed to power the biochemical reactions of cells. This in turn leads to an increase in the level of an organic compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is markedly decreased in patients with dementia, which provides the energy needed to drive processes in living cells and help nerve cells. to repair itself.

Researchers say the therapy can also increase nitric oxide levels, and therefore blood flow in the brain by improving the flexibility of the membrane that lines the inside of blood vessels. This opens up the blood vessels so that more oxygen can reach the white matter deep in the brain.

The helmet can be easily worn by patients, which means that the therapy can be easily administered at home. Researchers believe it could be beneficial for other disorders as well, such as Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, or motor neuron disease. Each helmet costs around £ 7,250 to purchase.

Dr Gordon Dougal, Co-Head of Research at Maculume Ltd, said: “Current clinical practice can only pave the way for optimal recovery with little or no effect on cell function. Laboratory work exploring the mechanism of action of PBM-T1068 indicates that this therapeutic tool may well help dying brain cells regenerate into functional units.

“Much more research is needed to fully understand the mechanism of action.”

This pilot study follows 20 years of work by Dr. Chazot to identify, develop and validate a particular wavelength of infrared light for use in the treatment of dementia through a series of preclinical in vitro and in vivo studies.

These studies showed for the first time that PBM-T with a specific wavelength improved memory performance and reduced beta-amyloid – a membrane protein that normally plays an essential role in the growth and repair of neurons. , but which later in life can increase and destroy the nerves. cells leading to thought and memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease – in a mouse model of Alzheimer’s.

The latest findings also follow separate recently published pilot clinical studies in Alzheimer’s disease involving Drs Chazot and Dougal.

Published in journals, Curate and Aging and illness, and led by Dr Jason Huang (Texas A&M University), these results suggest that PBM-T1068 – also known as transcranial near infrared (tNIR) therapy – has a similar profound and rapid positive effect on disease in men and women with mild to moderate dementia.

In the Cureus study, for example, 39 patients were given six minutes of PBM-T twice a day for eight weeks, alongside a control group of 17 patients who used a dummy headset.

In the mini mental state exams (MMSE), the women who received the treatment showed a 20 percent improvement, while there was a 19 percent improvement in the men (an increase of 4. 8 MMSE units), from a treatment of only eight weeks. This compares to an improvement of 6.5 percent in women and 5.9 percent in men in the control group, respectively.

After two to three weeks, participants reported having more energy, elevated mood, and less anxiety, as well as better physical and mental involvement in daily activities. An improvement in mood was also noted by caregivers.

Again, no adverse reactions were reported by participants or caregivers associated with treatment during or after completion of treatment. Curate to study.

* Anyone interested in participating in future research involving infrared light therapy can express interest to Dr Chazot [email protected] or Dr Dougal [email protected]


Case Study – “I felt more relaxed and had more energy”

Grandma Tracy Sloan started using the infrared light therapy headset to improve her memory.

After wearing the headset for a few weeks, she said she noticed improvements in remembering simple messages, which she previously should have written or forgot about.

She also noticed that her sleep and mood improved.

Tracy, 56, a general practitioner in Peterlee, County Durham, is in good general health and has no diagnosed illnesses that could affect her memory. She was introduced to therapy by Dr Dougal.

She wore the helmet morning and evening for six minutes each time over a three month period.

Tracy, who has two daughters and two grandsons, said, “I have a bad memory at first and I think as I get older it doesn’t get better, so I thought about trying therapy.

“I wasn’t sure it would make a difference, but to be honest I think it did.

“After a few weeks, I noticed that my sleep pattern was better, I felt more relaxed and I had more energy.

“I’m not a cranky person, but my youngest daughter said I wasn’t so cranky and my manager at the time used to laugh and say the therapy had to work because that I didn’t need to write things down. “

Tracy said the headset was easy to use and that she would wear it one night while watching TV.

“My kids would look at me and say ‘What’s on your head?’ but I thought if it helps me in any way it’s worth it, ”she said.

“It was very light to wear and it could be plugged in while I was wearing it.”

Tracy no longer uses therapy after her trial period and believes her poor memory has returned since she quit.

She added: “I would love to use it again because it has helped me, without a doubt.

“If people can afford something like this and it greatly improves your quality of life, I would definitely tell them to give it a try. “


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