Transcranial lights are the way to go.

Here’s a new journal article from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m a co-author, but don’t let that get in the way.

This article looks at the animal and clinical evidence for the use of transcranial and intracranial red and near infrared light devices. There is a lot of detailed information, including and in-depth description of the effect of transcranial red and near infrared lights in people with Parkinson’s disease.

As for which is best – intracranial or transcranial? The verdict is that neither is best on its own. The best is having both working together. It makes sense, having light shining from inside and outside the brain.

Alas, you might be waiting a while before you get access to an intracranial light implant (think DBS with a 670nm LED light), but you can use transcranial lights right now. You can make your own (instructions are here) or look at the Duo Coronet (link is here) .

Meanwhile, have a read…

Reference

Johnstone DM, Hamilton C, Gordon LC, Moro C, Torres N, Nicklason F, Stone J, Benabid AL, Mitrofanis J. Exploring the Use of Intracranial and Extracranial (Remote) Photobiomodulation Devices in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Direct and Indirect Systemic Stimulations. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;83(4):1399-1413. doi: 10.3233/JAD-210052. PMID: 33843683.

Mitochondria have a social-life!

The discoveries about mitochondria continue to grow.

A while back, it became clear that many neurodegenerative diseases, especially Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, resulted from the cell batteries, the mitochondria, failing to properly power up the cell. This results in the cell being unable to do its job, for example making dopamine. It also results in the early death of the cell.

In 2019 came the stunning news that mitochondria are nomadic. They pop out of cells, plunge into the bloodstream and whizz around, then get out, metaphorically towel themselves dry and pop back into a different cell – possibly in a completely different part of the body.

This ability raised the question of what controls the mitochondrial migration. There must be some signalling system making this happen. One has visions of King Mito barking out orders to mitochondrial minions, who scurry around with their clipboards and spreadsheets…

The signalling system is the next big thing for scientists to understand. It offers vast opportunities for potential treatments and prevention strategies.

Now comes the news that mitochondria act like social creatures. The cosy up to each other, fuse together, split apart, and appear to communicate with each other. Absolutely fascinating!

Here’s a link to a wonderful article in Qantamagazine. It describes very beautifully the implication of a review paper by Martin Picard and Carmen Sandi, who were the first to describe this new feature of mitochondrial behaviour.

Reference:

Martin Picard, Carmen Sandi,The social nature of mitochondria: Implications for human health,
Neuroscience & Biobehavioral Reviews, Volume 120,
2021,Pages 595-610,ISSN 0149-7634,
https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2020.04.017.

Red lights & macular degeneration

Thanks to Sharon for sending me a link to this podcast: The Science of Vision, Eye Health & Seeing Better | Huberman Lab Podcast #24.

Prof Andrew Huberman describes how we see. By this he means how our eyes focus and convert light information into electricity so that the rest of the brain can understand ‘and how our brain creates the incredible thing we experience as “sight”.’

Here’s the link to the podcast.

The part about the effect of red lights on age-related macular degeneration is at about the 1 hour 15 minute mark. All of it is worth listening to, though!

Thanks to Harry Quan on Unsplash for the beautiful image.

Wavelengths

I had an interesting query today regarding the penetration of red and near infrared light into the body.

Question:

Does the penetration of red and near infrared light increase as the wavelength increases?

Answer:

Alas, no. The human body isn’t going to make life that easy for us!

Penetration studies have shown that 810 nanometres (written as 810nm) has the best ability to penetrate through the skin and into the body tissues.

There are some wavelengths in the red and near infrared spectrum that hardly penetrate at all, while others are better. 810nm is the best.

810nm is in the near infrared range. Because it is at the very edge of our ability to see, an 810nm light looks very pale.

Visible red 670nm is pretty good, but not as good as 810nm. However, when the 670nm wavelength reaches the cell, it is highly efficient at getting the cell batteries (mitochondria) to recharge and kickstart the cell.

Thanks To Steve Harvey on Unsplash for the great photo from Nottingham.