Why I recommend making a Cossack rather than an Eliza bucket hat.
If you are thinking of buying a light device, make sure that it is made with individual LEDs, not a LED strip.
A device with individual LEDs is more likely to last, it will have better heat management, and it is more likely to be value for money.
As an example, a few weeks ago I made a LED strip device for my back. It uses standard gel-covered LED strip – the sewing is a bit weird but it was functional and felt pretty nice on my back after a day in the garden.
When I first made it, all three LED strips worked very happily. But as of yesterday, one of the LED strips decided to stop working part-way along its length. LED strips do that – they just stop lighting up.
There’s not much I can do about the bung LED strip. I’ll continue to use my home-made device on my back for the moment, but if more of the LED strips decide to conk out, I’ll pull it apart and make another.
The lesson is clear, though.
If you are thinking of buying a commercial light device, avoid those made with LED strips.
I’ve had a query about 12V near-infrared LED strip, especially 850nm LED strip.
You can see 850nm, but only just! 850nm is at the very edge of the eye’s ability to see. If you turn on the 850nm LED strip in a dark room, you will see a nice pale red glow. It’s red, but to our eyes it seems pretty dim. That’s good, that means it is working.
This afternoon researcher Dr Ann Liebert will be presenting early results of the clinical trial she has been running in conjunction with Parkinson’s South Australia. This study looked at the effects of red and near infrared light on people with Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Liebert will continue to work with Parkinson’s SA and as well, will start a new study In Parkinson’s patients in Sydney this month.
The initial analysis of the SA study confirms the kinds of improvements we’ve been seeing in people using red and near infrared lights on a daily basis for Parkinson’s.
Dr Liebert has kindly agreed that I can put a summary of the early findings of her clinical trial on the blog.
It is fantastic to see research into this promising area happening in Australia. Prof John Mitrofanis and his team from the University of Sydney were the first to document the huge potential of red and near infrared lights in Parkinson’s disease.
We in Tasmania played around with LED strips, buckets and plastic-coated wire and showed that trans-cranial lights make a difference to people with Parkinson’s. Now Dr Ann Liebert’s clinical trials are helping to confirm and define the changes that red lights make.
Today I caught up with a lovely man who had started wearing an Eliza bucket light hat nearly a month ago. His Eliza has 670nm and 810nm and he uses each wavelength for 10-15 minutes, one straight after another.
Eliza isn’t pulsed. She just puts out continuous light.
He reported feeling a lot better in himself. He said he had more energy and more interest in doing things. He had been out in the garden much more than previously and was enjoying life a lot more.
Friends had been commenting on how well he was looking. As did his general practitioner who apparently doesn’t yet know that he is using an Eliza light hat on an daily basis!
Another significant thing is that he can now hold a cup of coffee without spilling it. He is convinced that his tremor has reduced.
For all those DIY light hatters out there, this story shows that continuous light works. Don’t fret about pulsing, just get that red glow on your head every day.
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 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.