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.

DIY – practicality beats perfection

I’ve had lots of emails from people making a DIY light hat from the blog instructions. The tricky part is finding the best red LED strip.

670nm is hard to come by, as is 660nm.

The tendency is to stop work on the light hat, on the basis that it can only be made with the best possible LED strip.

Wrong approach!

The best thing is to get any old red LED strip and make a light hat as soon as you can and get it on the suffering head every morning – as soon as you can.

Then, and only then, start hunting for the elusive 670nm LED strip. And when you find it, make another light hat with the new LEDs. And give away your first one – there is always someone who can put it to good use.

It is far more effective to have red lights on brain than it is to have no red lights. Every day counts.

And remember – the Cossack is a far better design than the bucket Eliza.

Meet Michael, the Cossack designer.

Here is Michael, wearing his wonderful Cossack light hat.

Michael has been putting together an instruction for a LED-Leg. A few months ago he managed to upset one of his legs by straining his Achilles’ tendon.

He decided to put his red-light making skills into action to fast-track the recovery of his tendon.

And it worked. Here are the instructions:

Expectations

I’ve been answering a lot of emails from people who have recently read about the red/near infrared lights and Parkinson’s disease.

The stories have given hope, and justifiably so, as the case reports have shown that red and near infrared light can help PD symptoms.

But expectations must match the reality of red and near increased lights.

Red and near infrared light will NOT cure Parkinson’s disease.

Red lights will not magically return people to their previously healthy selves.

Red lights will not take the place of PD medication.

Red lights will not create immediate improvements.

In different people, depending on the degree of the disease and their general health, the lights will have variable effects. These effects occur slowly and subtly over time.

Any improvements, however small are worth having, but they do not occur speedily nor dramatically.

I would ask that you temper your expectations.

Maintain hope, but do not expect miracles for you will be disappointed.

Comfort is paramount – the Not List

I’ve been contemplating the DIY red light hats I’ve seen. Some are brilliant, made with artistry and an aesthetic balance that is breathtaking. Some are, um, not so magnificent to behold. Does appearance matter? Not really.

It is not the beauty, it is the function.

If the DIY light hat is heavy, hot, oppressive or worse, covers the face, it is not going to be comfortable to wear, no matter how elegant it looks.

If it is a physical burden to wear the light hat, then it is unreasonable to expect anyone to take on such a daily commitment of misery.

Comfort is the key to any DIY light device.

Here is the List of Nots:

  • Not heavy
  • Not hot
  • Not oppressive
  • Not covering the face
  • Not difficult to balance on the head
  • Not physically awkward or painful to wear for 20-odd minutes at a time

The User of the device must always have the final say.

If the User finds the light hat distressing or uncomfortable wear, the User can and should refuse to use it.

The User’s opinion is final.