If you’ve had Parkinson’s disease for many years, will red lights help?

Three years ago, I would have said that if you have had PD for a long time, then using a red light hat may help a bit. That comment was based on two things:

1. Caution,

2. Assumptions about the likely response, given the neurodegenerative damage already done.

I am still cautious, but I am now questioning the assumptions I made back then.

We know that the trans-cranial red lights would probably not reach the problem area deeply hidden out of reach in the Substantia Nigra. So the direct effect of the red light would not be in play.

Evidence from Prof John Mitrofanis’s team at the University of Sydney showed that there was an indirect effect of red light. It looked like one or more of the white blood cells somehow picked up the energy pulse from the red light and carried it through the blood stream and dropped it into cells that were struggling to stay alive. How this happens – who knows. But there is definitely an indirect effect.

We know, too, that the red and near infrared light penetrated through the skull and into the outer layers of the brain tissue, and when there, could improve the activity of these brain cells by the direct effect.

I’ve observed people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) using red light hats for three years.

I’ve been surprised at the changes that have occurred, and in one instance, the speed and quality of improvement. After decades of living with PD, there was improvement in speech, swallowing, facial animation evident two weeks after starting a new type of light hat. Equally importantly, there was marked improvement in energy, quality of thinking, interest and engagement in life and mood. The comment was: ‘I’ve got my personality back’.

PD is a vicious thing. While everyone focuses on the tremor and shuffle, the real damage is the way that the brain inexorably takes away the essence of the person. This happens because of the development of the non-movement symptoms of PD – apathy, depression, anxiety, problems with auditory processing (being able to understand what people are saying) and problems in thinking.

These are the things that I consistently see being improved with trans-cranial light hats – and these are the things that make life worth living.

So I think that three years ago I underestimated the potential of the indirect effect and the direct effect on the outer-most brain cells.

The message is: keep using those lights – every day.

Author: RedlightsontheBrain

Redlightsonthebrain is written by Catherine Hamilton, a retired doctor on behalf of Light Ahead Inc, a Tasmanian-based not-for-profit organisation. Light Ahead Inc aims to help people to learn about neurogenerative diseases and the practical, safe and scientifically-based things that may be able to help. Part of this is to provide low-cost access to red light devices, hence the DIY instructions on this blog. All sales of the Coronet red light device support the work of Light Ahead Inc.