Questions about red lights

I watched a lecture by Prof Michael Hamblin, of Harvard University. He is one of the most respected researchers into the use of red and near infrared light. The lecture is behind a paywall, so I can’t give a link to it, alas.

His last slide had a series of questions – things that we don’t yet know.

  1. What are the diseases and conditions that are most responsive to light?
  2. How important is it for light to penetrate into the brain?
  3. What are the effects on other parts of the body (the parts not receiving the red light)?
  4. What is the best way to deliver light?
  5. How important is it to pulse the light (versus continuous)?
  6. How important is the location on the head?
  7. How important is the biphasic response (check out the post on the Goldilocks effect)?
  8. What about cognitive enhancement (meaning using lights to improve brain function in people with no neurological disease)?
  9. What about pre-conditioning (using lights before an intervention to improve function and reduce injury)?
  10. How does photobiomodulation compare to other brain stimulating devices (eg transcranial direct current stimulation)?
  11. Can too much light be given?

I must confess to feeling rather relieved when I first saw this list. I get frustrated about how much I don’t know, and how difficult it is to answer some of the questions from blog readers.

I’m also pretty excited, too. The blog readers who so generously give regular feedback about their experience with red and near infrared lights are actively contributing to knowledge in this whole area. We need every bit of information we can get.

So if you are a quiet user of a red light hat device, please consider being part of citizen science into the effects of red and near infrared lights. I’d love hear from you.

Author: redlightsonthebrain

Redlightsonthebrain is a retired doctor curious about the brain.