Photobiomodulation effects: facts and extrapolations

Intranasal photobiomodulation (iPBM) is a distinct form of application of photobiomodulation. In itself, photobiomodulation (PBM) is a relatively new field. Even the word itself is quite new. It is familiar to mostly a limited group of scientists, engineers, early adopters and health practitioners. However, the applications and effects of PBM are gathering more interest and attention from the scientific and medical communities. Over the last 2-3 years this interest has become stronger, as new research has delivered more supportive evidence.

At this time the research specific to iPBM is limited, and it is no surprise, considering how novel this method is. Nevertheless, some studies point to strong possibilities that intranasal photobiomodulation can support and strengthen immune system via mitochondrial and cellular functions. Importantly, potential applications for intranasal PBM can be numerous, and already research studies are planned in search of more evidence.

As it is often the case with any new technology, it attracts more skepticism than support in its early days. This is a normal course of development for most novelties. History has plenty of examples of misunderstandings directed at important inventions, from cars and airplanes to, more recently, the Internet. The common misunderstanding was to consider those inventions temporary fads. Intranasal photobiomodulation is likely the newest form of PBM, and as such it gathers healthy doses of interest and skepticism.


Is there evidence supporting intranasal photobiomodulation’s effectiveness?

The only way to win the skeptics over is to provide strong evidence in support of intranasal photobiomodulation’s effectiveness. Luckily, a body of such supporting evidence is growing, as more scientists are taking closer looks at PBM.

This momentum-gaining is happening mainly due to four critical factors associated with PBM in general. Factor one is the success of exploratory studies, resulting in robust scientific validation of the PBM method for numerous applications. Factor two is the noninvasive nature of this modality. Simplicity of PBM delivery is factor three. Last, but not least, factor four is cost-effectiveness of the PBM procedures.

However, no matter how attractive PBM may look to researchers, most regulatory bodies require solid data to permit medical use. Intranasal photobiomodulation is no exception. While numerous studies create a generally positive and promising picture of PBM for many applications, these studies present a somewhat fragmented view. Yet, fragmentation, although challenging, is a common starting point to solving any puzzle.

intranasal photobiomodulation's effectivenessAny reasonable solution would require a creative approach to organizing existing data from numerous photobiomodulation studies into meaningful metrics. Subsequently, when all known pieces are put together, it is much easier to understand what is missing. This approach would allow development of a methodical search for the missing data, which could support medical applications for PBM. Opportunities for such applications are numerous, and those include intranasal photobiomodulation applications.

What prospects for intranasal photobiomodulation does data show?

What about the analytical approach to scientific research in PBM and iPBM? For example, is it important to look at all the data in order to connect the dots for applications of intranasal photobiomodulaton? If you are interested in the future of PBM as a clinical therapy, you may be curious about the answers.

What does photobiomodulation research have to do with detective’s work?

Every once in a while you are likely to catch yourself making an inference based on partial facts, fragmented data, or observations which are not sufficient for a clear-cut conclusion. In some cases a deductive reasoning approach can be very effective. After all, this is what most detectives do. Remember the infamous Mr. Sherlock Holmes and his incredible deductive method and abilities?

Actually, more often than not, intelligence and counterintelligence analysts have to use partial data to understand and complete a puzzle. Research is a lot like the work of detectives and analysts, and similarities in approach are warranted. In general, most analysts use extrapolations and statistics in their analyses. It is reasonable to assume that oftentimes many of such deductions lead to correct conclusions and proofs. Otherwise, analytical deductions would not be an accepted practice.

Photobiomodulation and its applications should not be any different, when it comes to connecting the dots to find missing pieces. Thus, the theory of probabilities can be helpful in solving some convoluted puzzles and offering keys to finding better answers. Whatever the path to finding the right answers may be, the most important part is to find an undeniable validation. Ultimately, such validation will be based on solid scientific data, even if the intermittent research utilized deductions and creative guessing.

Experimental design approach and intranasal photobiomodulation

Experimental design is another practical area where partial data can lead to useful conclusions. Practice of experimental design can provide valuable insights and solutions relevant to intranasal photobiomodulation and PBM in general. The concept of experimental design is used in many industries and for numerous applications, including scientific research.
For example, many scientific studies employ experimental design principles to prove a “concept”, or rather a hypothesis. In addition to complying with regulatory requirements and various standards, researchers have the flexibility to test their hypotheses. Thus, they can manipulate different variables in a study, to achieve and observe changes in the outcomes. This is a form of experimental design in practice.

However, in scientific research, the number of variables can be dramatically high. This fact limits the possibility to test all variations in outcomes. Consequently, in such cases, researchers would have to base their conclusions on the data derived from limited samples. Therefore, they would have to resort to extrapolation based on the sampled data. Thus, thesystemic iPBM effects quality and integrity of the sampled data is of critical importance in making correct conclusions.

PBM and iPBM have promising future

This all may sound too scientific for some of you and not enough so for others. Whatever category you are in, you are most likely have some interest in PBM. The important part is that a lot of work is being done to investigate photobiomodulation effects on the human brain and on the body’s systemic functions. In investigations of the former, primarily transcranial photobiomodulation devices emitting near infrared light are used. For investigations of the latter, the red-light emitting intranasal photobiomodulation devices may be of better use. However, in many cases, combinations of both provide promising outcomes and warrant more investigations to gain valuable data.

The more valid scientific data is available, the faster we will answer the numerous PBM-related questions. With science on the side of PBM, the range of its applications to improve human body functions will expand.