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Red lights preserve brain cells…and make more of ‘em

Prof John Mitrofanis gave an excellent presentation today to clinicians at the Royal Hobart Hospital.

He took the audience through the ten plus years of research into red lights and Parkinson’s in animal models.

Continue reading “Red lights preserve brain cells…and make more of ‘em”

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Smelling Parkinson’s

This article tells the story of Joy Milne, a Scottish nurse who realised that she could smell Parkinson’s disease. Tragically, she noticed the smell on her husband, a decade before he was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The smell comes from the changes in the skin, the same changes that affect tolerance to temperature changes.

Read to the end, as Joy’s comments are very powerful. She shows how the non-movement symptoms of Parkinson’s can be far more damaging to quality of life and relationships than the tremors and other movement problems.

For more about the non-movement symptoms and their importance, read parts 4 and 5 of this post.

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What wavelength is best for my condition?

If you have looked at the availability of rolls of red and near infrared LED lights, you will see that there is a bewildering array, between orangey-red (630nm) to out of the visible spectrum so that you can’t see it at all (940nm).

So what, you ask. Surely it doesn’t matter? Surely red light, near infrared light – it’s all the same? One wavelength is as good as another?

Wavelength matters – please be cautious!

Continue reading “What wavelength is best for my condition?”

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Who should get the credit?

The original research grant application would have seemed odd – to shine red lights on mice. But look what that research has given us.

With all the media attention on red and near infrared lights, let’s celebrate the people who meticulously documented the effects of red and near infrared light.

Professor John Mitrofanis, University of Sydney.

Prof John has been the driver – he recognised that the problem in Parkinson’s Disease was cell battery malfunction – the mitochondria.

The first paper describing the effect of red light on Parkinsonism mice was published in 2010, nine years ago. The animal evidence was convincing way back then. Continue reading “Who should get the credit?”

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Talking to your doctor

This ABC story is generating interest in red lights and Parkinson’s disease.

You might want to discuss red lights with your doctor.

If you take in a copy of the ABC story, your doctor will most likely inwardly sigh and tell you not to believe everything you read.

Here’s a better idea – give your doctor original research articles!

Here’s how to do that:

    Please read this earlier blog post about how to help your doctor
    Download and print the medical journal article article on that post. This article is by Prof John Mitrofanis and is a fabulous summary of red lights effect on brain cells.
    Please read a 2018 blog post about a new journal article. This article describes the Tasmanian case studies mentioned in the ABC story.
    Download and print this medical journal article as well.
    Take both articles to your doctor.

Blind your doctor with science – it’s the kind thing to do…

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The Beginning

Constant knee pain makes it hard to be active, so in mid 2015, I did a lot of sitting and reading. One of the books was Norman Doidge’s The Brain’s Way of Healing.

Chapter 4 covered the effect of red and near infrared light on the brain and spinal cord, and there were some remarkable stories told. In passing, Doidge mentioned the positive effect of red and near infrared light on arthritic joints and damaged tendons.

I went hunting on Google Scholar and found some medical journal articles that Continue reading “The Beginning”

Tomatoes and coronets

I have been picking ripe tomatoes from the garden. Here are some of them on a white plate:

I wondered how close the 670nm coronet light was to tomato colour.

I put a coronet on a white plate and turned it on.

This is the colour that come from the iPad camera:

In the kitchen, the red of the coronet looks pretty similar to the red of the tomatoes.

The camera makes a bit more pink. Most curious.

The Dys-words

Dystonia, dyskinesia, dys this, dys that…

Here is a link to an excellent summary of the meanings of these confusing words.

Thanks to the Australian Brain Foundation for putting this glossary together.

Pulsing light and Alzheimer’s disease

I’ve been reading articles suggesting that Alzheimer’s disease is linked with a disruption of brain wave patterns, especially the gamma waves which are predominant in the brain when we are concentrating and focussed.

One group increased gamma wave activity in Alzheimer’s mice by pulsing light. In this research, it wasn’t the light that was of interest to the researchers, it was the pulse rate. They used 40Hz, in the gamma brainwave frequency range.

Here is a great report about that experiment and it’s implications.

stimulating neurons to produce gamma waves at a frequency of 40 Hz reduces the occurrence and severity of several Alzheimer’s-associated symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. 

It seems that pulsing the light does more than enable red light to penetrate more deeply into the brain. Pulsing at 40Hz seems to stimulate the brain’s immune and clean-up cells, the microglia to get cracking with brush and pan.

I have visions of microglial cells dancing to the 40 Hz rhythm as they clear up brain rubbish, including the proteins that accumulate in Alzheimer’s – amyloid and tau.

In 40Hz pulsed red light, the brain gets the benefits of the red light action inside the cells, and the benefits of brain-protection activities stimulated by brainwaves responding at 40Hz.

Fascinating stuff, isn’t it.

Meanwhile, if you are feeling worried that your Eliza or Cossack doesn’t pulse, don’t fret. The daily light dose is doing its work. More.

LED lights versus Laser lights

I’ve had a few queries about the use of laser lights. I can understand the allure of a laser, as its coherent light with such total focus is pretty impressive.

LED lights used to be very expensive. In the last decade the costs of LEDs have really dropped, and we can now buy them easily and inexpensively. LED lights are not coherent like lasers – the light from the average LED lights scatters and shines over a bigger area.

Question: For lights on the head, are lasers better than LEDs?

Answer: Nope.

Both have their place, but the previous dominance of laser lights is being whittled away by practicality and safety of LED lights.

For trans-cranial use, you want the red lights to scatter – you want coverage of the lights over the head. You also want to use the lights daily, safely and at home.

Lasers are a pain to use, they come with safety issues and they are not suitable for home use.

LEDs are the best.