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.


As always, with good research protocol, he and his team compared the number of dopamine-producing cells in three groups of subjects:

Group 1 – No Parkinson’s and NO red light exposure

Happy brain tissue, all packed with healthy dopamine – everything functioning magnificently. This is the control group.

Group 2 – With Parkinson’s but NO red light exposure

Hardly any dopamine to be seen.

This is what happens in Parkinson’s. Dopamine levels drop because the cells producing dopamine die. Without normal levels of dopamine, the body’s ability to control movement and other things goes haywire.

Group 3 – With Parkinson’s AND red light exposure

Lots of dopamine in the brain tissue. There wasn’t as much as in the control group, Group 1, but there was significantly more than in Group 2, who had Parkinson’s but had no red light exposure.


Prof John’s team also looked at the way the three groups moved, and using a computer program was able to quantify each group’s activity levels and compare them:

Group 1 – No Parkinson’s and NO red light exposure

The control group danced, played and ran around, with no problems whatsoever.

Group 2 – With Parkinson’s but NO red light exposure

They were virtually frozen in one place, their ability to move almost completely thwarted by their Parkinson’s.

Group 3 – With Parkinson’s AND red light exposure

They were busy and active – not as much as the control group, but significantly more than Group 2, with Parkinson’s but no treatment.

Red and near infrared light does something really useful to brain cells. And that something helps Parkinson’s, and other neurodegenerative diseases as well. And depression.

Even a little improvement is worth having, and all it takes is a few red lights shining on the head each day. And you can make a device at home…

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.

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