Photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy involves using non-thermal light, specifically narrow-wavelength bands of red and near-infrared light from LED or laser sources, to affect cellular responses. This therapy primarily targets cytochrome-C-oxidase, which releases reactive oxygen species (ROS) and regulates cellular signaling pathways. PBM therapy has a strong safety record and is free of serious side-effects, making it a promising option for treating various disorders such as pain, inflammation, and musculoskeletal conditions.
Recent research has shown potential for PBM therapy in treating neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders such as Parkinson’s disease (PD). Studies using animal models have demonstrated that PBM therapy can precondition and protect against toxin-induced PD by preserving neurons in the substantia nigra, and small-scale human trials are currently being undertaken with transcranial PBM. Additionally, the use of remote PBM treatment on areas such as the abdomen and neck may also have potential benefits, particularly given the importance of the gut-brain axis in PD. Overall, PBM therapy holds promise as a safe and effective treatment option for a variety of disorders, including PD.
For Parkinson’s Awareness Month, we’re commemorating the groundbreaking Parkinson’s Disease study by Dr. Ann Liebert, Dr. Liisa Laakso et al. from the University of Sydney, Australia.
- Read the full study here: Link
This study was a historical first in showing the potential efficacy of photobiomodulation for PD symptoms in humans.
The Vielight Neuro Gamma was utilized for transcranial-intranasal brain photobiomodulation and an Irradia MID 2.5 laser device for neck and abdominal photobiomodulation throughout this study.
Published Study: Improvements in clinical signs of Parkinson’s disease using photobiomodulation: a prospective proof-of-concept study
Authors: Ann Liebert , Brian Bicknell, E-Liisa Laakso, Gillian Heller, Parastoo Jalilitabaei, Sharon Tilley, John Mitrofanis, Hosen Kiat
Background: Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disease with no cure and few treatment options. Its incidence is increasing due to aging populations, longer disease duration and potentially as a COVID-19 sequela. Photobiomodulation (PBM) has been successfully used in animal models to reduce the signs of PD and to protect dopaminergic neurons.
Objective: To assess the effectiveness of PBM to mitigate clinical signs of PD in a prospective proof-of-concept study, using a combination of transcranial and remote treatment, in order to inform on best practice for a larger randomized placebo-controlled trial (RCT).
Methods: Twelve participants with idiopathic PD were recruited. Six were randomly chosen to begin 12 weeks of transcranial, intranasal, neck and abdominal PBM. The remaining 6 were waitlisted for 14 weeks before commencing the same treatment. After the 12-week treatment period, all participants were supplied with PBM devices to continue home treatment. Participants were assessed for mobility, fine motor skills, balance and cognition before treatment began, after 4 weeks of treatment, after 12 weeks of treatment and the end of the home treatment period. A Wilcoxon Signed Ranks test was used to assess treatment effectiveness at a significance level of 5%.
Results: Measures of mobility, cognition, dynamic balance and fine motor skill were significantly improved (p < 0.05) with PBM treatment for 12 weeks and up to one year. Many individual improvements were above the minimal clinically important difference, the threshold judged to be meaningful for participants. Individual improvements varied but many continued for up to one year with sustained home treatment. There was a demonstrable Hawthorne Effect that was below the treatment effect. No side effects of the treatment were observed.
Conclusions: PBM was shown to be a safe and potentially effective treatment for a range of clinical signs and symptoms of PD. Improvements were maintained for as long as treatment continued, for up to one year in a neurodegenerative disease where decline is typically expected. Home treatment of PD by the person themselves or with the help of a carer might be an effective therapy option. The results of this study indicate that a large RCT is warranted.