Self-administered light therapy may improve cognitive function after traumatic brain injury

Mar 17, 2011

At-home, daily application of light therapy via light-emitting diodes (LEDs) placed on the forehead and scalp led to improvements in cognitive function and post-traumatic stress disorder in patients with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a groundbreaking study published in Photomedicine and Laser Surgery.

Margaret Naeser, PhD, LAc, VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston University School of Medicine, and colleagues from Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology, in Boston, and MedX Health Inc. (Mississauga, ON, Canada), report on the use of transcranial LED-based light therapy to treat two patients with longstanding (TBI). Each patient applied LEDs nightly and demonstrated substantial improvement in cognitive function, including improved memory, inhibition, and ability to sustain attention and focus. One patient was able to discontinue medical disability and return to full-time work. These cognitive gains decreased if the patients stopped treatment for a few weeks and returned when treatment was restarted. Both patients are continuing LED treatments in the home. The findings are presented in "Improved Cognitive Function After Transcranial, Light-Emitting Diode Treatments in Chronic, Traumatic Brain Injury: Two Case Reports."

Low-level light therapy using lasers or externally placed LEDs to deliver red and near-infrared (NIR) light energy has been shown in cell-based studies to improve and to produce beneficial physiological effects. In in humans, for example, transcranial NIR light therapy applied less than 24 hours post-stroke was associated with improved outcomes.

"The results of this study will provide a basis for future therapeutic use of phototherapy to improve recovery after injury and facilitate management of other CNS disorders. The development of novel therapies to restore function after neurologic injury, stroke, or disease is an increasingly important goal in medical research as a result of an increase in non-fatal traumatic wounds and the increasing prevalence of dementias and other degenerative disorders in our aging population," says Raymond J. Lanzafame, MD, MBA, Editor-in-Chief of the Journal.

Explore further: Human brain has coping mechanism for dehydration

More information: The article is available free online at www.liebertpub.com/pho

Provided by Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

5 /5 (2 votes)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Pill ingredient could prevent brain damage after head injury

Apr 30, 2008

A common component of the contraceptive pill (progesterone) could improve the neurologic outcome for patients with severe head injuries, according to a study published in BioMed Central’s open access journal Critical Ca ...

New research reclaims the power of speech

Apr 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- A UQ researcher has revealed a new treatment for a speech disorder that commonly affects those who have suffered a stroke or brain injury.

Stem cells may provide treatment for brain injuries

Mar 10, 2011

Stem cells derived from a patient's own bone marrow were safely used in pediatric patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to results of a Phase I clinical trial at The University of Texas Health Science Center ...

What happens after traumatic brain injury occurs?

Nov 01, 2010

Results from a study published in the November issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medicine (JNM) show that powerful imaging techniques––positron emission tomography (PET) fused with magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)& ...

Recommended for you

Human brain has coping mechanism for dehydration

6 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Although dehydration significantly reduces blood flow to the brain, researchers in England have found that the brain compensates by increasing the amount of oxygen it extracts from the blood. ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

neiorah
not rated yet Mar 18, 2011
I wonder if this therapy would work for patients with right temporal lobe epilepsy and the damage that stems from it. Memory problems are evident as is cognitive functioning.