An Overview Of Red Light Therapy
Red light therapy is often used as an umbrella term that encompasses both red light and near-infrared light. Other terms that are commonly used for this treatment method are photobiomodulation and low-level light therapy .
The major difference between red light and NIR light is the depth to which they can penetrate tissue and bone. Red light can absorb into the bodys tissues up to about 1-2cm . NIR light wavelengths absorb about 4cm .
Red light therapy has been shown in hundreds of clinical studies to have a wide variety of therapeutic effects on the human body. The treatment is administered to bare skin and t forehead via powerful light-emitting diode bulbs.
Light photons are absorbed into the skin and underlying tissue where they interact with mitochondria, the energy factories inside most cells. Mitochondria, in turn, are stimulated to produce adenosine triphosphate , which is the primary fuel for cells. This process is much like photosynthesis, whereby plants absorb energy from the sun to make glucose for their food.
Because of the difference in wavelengths, red light and NIR light are suitable for different types of therapies. Red light soaks into the skin where it stimulates collagen and elastin production, along with forming capillaries and reducing inflammation. Its shorter wavelengths can’t absorb deeper into the body, so its the ideal therapy for chronic skin conditions, hair loss, and for reversing the signs of aging.
Could Light Hold The Key To Help Manage Parkinsons Symptoms Or Even Have A Protective Effect On Brain Cells This Blog Explores The Research Evidence And What The Future Might Hold
Light has a huge impact on life from sustaining the plants we eat to allowing us to see, everyone of us is dependent on the power of light.
The power of light has been investigated in many conditions, and although it is still very much an experimental technique, there is research to suggest that light therapy can have protective and restorative properties. There is also evidence that light can alter our sleep, mood and behaviour.
So why is light relevant to Parkinsons?In Parkinsons it is the loss of dopamine producing brain cells that cause both movement symptoms and other symptoms known as non-motor symptoms such as problems sleeping, depression, and loss of motivation.
Research is being done to look at whether treatment using light could offer protection to struggling brain cells to potentially slow down the progression of Parkinsons. And research is also looking into how light, in various forms, could be used to directly manage the symptoms of Parkinsons.
This is a fascinating topic as researchers try to unpick why cells that sit in the middle of the brain, in complete darkness could be protected, or even healed, by light. How do cells in the eye signal to the deepest parts of the brain? Or is it that light is being absorbed by specific components in cells activating and providing energy for the body to promote brain cell survival, protection or regeneration?
Lets explore some of the ways light is being looked at with regard to Parkinsons research.
Light Therapy And Parkinson’s
NIr therapy works by using infrared illumination to treat brain tissue affected by a lack of oxygen, toxic environments, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria help to produce energy in cells and play a role in regulating cell function when working properly. NIr attempts to reduce cell damage and death by protecting the dopamine-producing neurons.2 NIr has been shown to reduce tissue inflammation and improve mitochondrial function.
It is not a targeted therapy because it works on the neural symptoms of many conditions by reducing the neurodegenerative process. Light therapy targets the brain and therefore it is likely to impact multiple facets of neural functioning. Studies have yielded results that show improvement in cognitive, emotional, and executive function.
Photobiomodulation is the ability of light to modulate biological processes at a cellular level.4 The use of controlled exposure of red to infrared wavelengths of light have successfully improved healing, reduced inflammation and pain. It has done this by improving mitochondrial function and stimulating antioxidant pathways in the brain. Photobiomodualtion has been therapeutically effective to improve the recovery rate for other medical conditions, and has shown promise in the lab for people and animals with PD.
Strategic use of specific light applied at a targeted time of day for a specific length of time should be able to “attack” melatonin, and reduce it, thus restoring dopamine balance.5
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Cellular And Molecular Mechanisms Of Lllt
LLLT uses low-powered laser light in the range of 1-1000 mW, at wavelengths from 632-1064 nm, to stimulate a biological response. These lasers emit no heat, sound, or vibration. Instead of generating a thermal effect, LLLT acts by inducing a photochemical reaction in the cell, a process referred to as biostimulation or photobiomodulation. Photo-biology works on the principle that, when light hits certain molecules called chromophores, the photon energy causes electrons to be excited and jump from low-energy orbits to higher-energy orbits. In nature, this stored energy can be used by the system to perform various cellular tasks, such as photosynthesis and photomorphogenesis. Numerous examples of chromophores exist in nature, such as chlorophyll in plants, bacteriochlorophyll in blue-green algae, flavoproteins, and hemoglobin found in red blood cells. The respective colors of chromophores are determined by the part of the spectrum of light they absorb: chlorophyll is green, flavoprotein is yellow, and hemoglobin is red .
Illustration of mitochondrion, as well as of the electron transport chain and oxidative metabolism.
Complex IV is the principal chromophore involved in low-level light therapy. It has 2 copper centers and 2 heme prosthetic groups. Cytochrome c is oxidized and oxygen is reduced to water during respiration.
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Unlocking Lifes Full Potential
Parkinsons symptoms vary from individual to individual as it is an extremely heterogeneous disease affecting everyone differently.By implementing SYMBYXs treatment protocols, our flexible PDCare hand-held device is used to treat the gut, wide-ranging positive changes are being recorded by patients. Such changes include motor improvements, better sleep, lightened mood, reduced muscle pain and even returned sense of smell.
How is this even possible!?
The PDCare Laser therapy increases gut fermentation of dietary fibre, which in turn facilitates the production of helpful gut metabolites .SCFAs are important for manufacturing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin that are in short supply in a Parkinsons patient . In essence, the gut takes on an even greater load and compensates for the reduction of dopamine production in the brain.
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What Is Freezing Of Gait
Freezing of gait is an abnormal gait pattern that can accompany Parkinsons disease as well as other parkinsonian disorders in which there are sudden, short and temporary episodes of an inability to move the feet forward despite the intention to walk. In a sense, youre stuck. This results in the characteristic appearance of the feet making quick stepping movements in place. However, while the feet remain in place, the torso still has forward momentum which makes falls unfortunately common in the context of freezing of gait. For some, these episodes can simply be frustrating, annoying and perhaps embarrassing for others freezing of gait can become incredibly disabling and lead to injury.
Freezing of gait episodes tend to occur least often when walking on an unobstructed, straight path. Any deviation from that can induce freezing for example, when you first try to start walking, when you go to make a turn, or try to navigate around obstacles or through narrow spaces any of these can cause you to get stuck.
The particular triggers for one person may be different than for another. An episode is typically very brief, often lasting only 1-2 seconds, although they can last longer. Freezing of gait can be affected by anxiety, so if a person feels rushed , freezing may be particularly prominent.
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Low Level Laser Therapy For Parkinsons Disease
Low Level Laser Therapy has been shown to penetrate the skull to directly aid damaged neurological tissue. The brain may suffer from three types of disorder: 1. Stroke, traumatic brain injury and global ischemia. 2. Degenerative disease such as dementia, Alzheimers and Parkinsons Disease, and 3. Psychiatric conditions such as depression, anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is evidence that all these conditions can be beneficially affected by applying light to the head. We have seen good results when working with Low Level Laser Therapy for Parkinsons disease.
Please refer to the following research article for more information.
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Is Nir Therapy Safe
To date, there are no reports of major safety issues nor side-effects after NIr treatment. The commercial LED panels for NIr therapy have already received non-significant risk status by the Food and Drug Administration and previous studies have indicated no adverse impact on brain tissue structure and function after NIr treatment . There is one sole account of some neuronal damage and negative behavioral outcomes in mice, but this was evident after an exceptionally high power intensity , approximately one hundred times higher than the dose required to elicit a therapeutic response . Hence, when taken together, these data indicate that when NIr was applied at therapeutic doses , its impact on body tissue was overwhelmingly positive, and had a very large safety margin of application . Further, there appears to be no longer-term side effects associated with NIr application in a long-term study in rats, no adverse effects were noted after daily treatment for 12 months .
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Treatment For Parkinson’s Disease: Why Choose Johns Hopkins
The Johns Hopkins Neurostimulation and Advanced Treatments Center gives you access to the newest and most effective therapies for Parkinsons disease, including
- DBS focusing on multiple brain targets
- Minimally invasive laser surgery to address brain lesions
- Carbidopa/levodopa infusion therapy
- Research-based treatments such as transcranial direct current stimulation to address depression and cognitive problems
- Other new therapies as they become available, including clinical trials
The Human Light Trials Begin
Three years on, Mr Burr and the other Tasmanians using their own light treatment have inspired an Australia-wide proof-of-concept clinical trial to test whether the lights are actually making a long-term difference to peoples health or whether its just a placebo effect.
The trial, run by The University of Sydney School of Medicine and Parkinsons SA, involves people from Brisbane, South Australia and Sydney.
Some participants are using placebo lights, while others are using red and near-infrared lights on their heads and stomachs.
Catherine Hamilton, a retired Tasmanian specialist occupational physician who specialises in photobiomodulation and helped Mr Burr with his light treatment, is developing helmets with her electronics expert friend Ron Brown for Sydney trial participants.
For people with Parkinsons the lights are giving them an improvement now, right now, theyre not having to wait 10 years for a pill, Dr Hamilton said.
Ann Liebert from the University of Sydney, who is co-ordinating the trial, said she had worked with light therapy for 10 years and had seen many positive results.
We have medical evidence and case study evidence, so nows the time to look at experimental evidence at a higher level, she said.
Professor Simon Lewis, a neurologist who specialises in Parkinsons and Alzheimers disease, said people with Parkinsons experienced progressive and relentless brain cell death.
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What Does It Do
This laser light accessory provides visual and auditory cues, providing something to focus on that would naturally initiate the ability to walk again. It isnt uncommon for those with PD to suffer from reoccurring freezing episodes, theyre random at best and theres no real warning for when theyll come on. When the laser light accessory is attached, there are buttons near the handle to initiate the laser, after ten minutes of idle use, the laser will turn off automatically.
The theory behind these laser mechanisms is that the visible cue of the laser will bypass anything the brain might be telling the legs, resulting in the ability to walk towards the light. In some cases, it might not always work as there is no treatment for these freezing episodes, but it does help initiate the process of walking again.
While its very possible to simply just tape some laser pointers to your walker, we recommend using the actual product as it has better programming and is more functional to those with disabilities. Although, keeping a pocket laser here and there definitely couldnt hurt!
How Does The U
U-Step 2 Walking Stabilizer is an easy-to-use rollator walker. It has a reverse braking system . It doe not move until you squeeze the hand brakes. You dont need to use force to push the walker. Instead, gently squeeze the brakes and step forward. Keep yourself closer to the walker while walking. When the brakes are released, the walker stops immediately from moving. Avoid squeezing the brakes while seated.
If you want to project a bright red laser, press the button located near the right-hand brake. When the laser light lane is projected, step towards the light, move the walker and step forward again.
You can adjust the best place for your walk by using the beeping feature, located either near to the right-hand brake or below the padded seat. The walker has 11 settings of beep speed, which can be controlled with the help of two buttons. The upper button is used to increase the speed whereas the lower is used to decrease the walkers speed.
Knobs on both sides of the walker are used to adjust the height. The walker is very light and can be folded into a flat shape, you can take it with you in your car.
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The Potential Of Light Therapy In Parkinson’s Disease
Accepted for publication 10 December 2013
18 February 2014Volume 2014:4Pages 114
The current gold standard treatments for Parkinsons disease are very effective at attenuating the motor signs, at least initially. However, they do not reliably slow the progression of the disease neurons continue to die during the course of treatment. The discovery of new therapeutic approaches that offer neuroprotection against parkinsonian insult is therefore paramount. In this context, several recent studies in animal models of Parkinsons disease, as well as other models of disease , have reported that red to infrared light therapy can be neuroprotective. There is real potential for the development of light therapy as a treatment option for Parkinsons disease patients one that slows the ongoing neuronal death and progression of the disease.
Overview of Parkinsons disease
Current therapies for Parkinsons disease
Dopamine drug therapy
In general, these drug treatments have very good early symptomatic effects, but their longer-term neuroprotective or disease modifying effects are far from clear. For example, although drugs such as selegiline and rasagiline have been tested as putative neuroprotective agents in clinical trials, their ability to actually stop neuronal death and slow the pathology of the disease has yet to be demonstrated.26
Putative neuroprotective treatments
What is light therapy and how does it offer neuroprotection?
What Is Brain Surgery For Parkinsons Disease
Brain surgery for Parkinsons disease is done to balance the activity in certain areas of the brain that control physical movement. The surgery can involve placement of a stimulator device or creation of a surgical lesion in the brain.
The areas of the brain that are affected by Parkinsons disease are very small, and they are located deep within the brain. These procedures are done with precision and often with imaging guidance so your surgeon can see the structure of your brain with real-time pictures during the surgery.
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Is It Available To Me
There are infrared light sources on the market that you can buy in a specialty store or on the internet. These however, are not the same as the light sources that are used in a clinical study environment. They may or may not prove helpful to people with Parkinsons suffering from sleep disturbances, and should only be used after seeking input from your physician.
New Hope For Parkinsons
Laser therapy offers a new treatment option and hope for people suffering from Parkinsons Disease.
Parkinsons is a debilitating, progressive disease that affects 1% of people over the age of 60.
In Parkinsons disease certain cells within the brain stem make less of the neuro-transmitter dopamine. This leads to the jerky, slowed movements, difficulty walking and speaking, and the resting tremor of the hands. Perhaps our most famous younger patient is Michael J. Fox who was only 29 when he was diagnosed.
Typically Parkinsons is treated with medication and occupational or physical therapy.
There is a brand new application of Laser Therapy to reach the area of the disease and stimulate more normal function. Movements can be smoother, better coordinated. Tasks of daily living, like eating can be improved with steadier movements.
Here at the Cruz Life Center we have been using Laser therapy for many conditions for over 10 years. Daily we see amazing results in the recovery from injuries to muscles, joints, ligaments, tendons and the injury or dis-ease of the brain. Low Intensity Laser Therapy utilizes light energy to produce biological effects in tissues. It is known for being extremely safe and without any side effects that are so common with medication.
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