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.

The light hat isn’t helping my PD…

One of the problems of writing a blog, I’m finding, is that people are keen to share good news, but they are not so keen to share not so good news, or even no news. I’m guessing that there are people out there who can relate to this.

Let’s say that you have Parkinson’s, you have made yourself a light hat, and you have been wearing it every day for 20-30 minutes. You have a lot of hope.

A month down the track and nothing seems to have changed. You are feeling a bit fed up with the red light caper, and sick of the jokes that others make about it.

Another month goes past and you are sure that you’ve had no response from the lights. Are the red lights a load of hooey? Continue reading “The light hat isn’t helping my PD…”

Red light definitions

Explains LLLT, Photobiomodulation and PBM.

You will have come across the various names for the use of red and near infrared lights. Michael Hamblin, one of the lead researchers in the area, has summarised the terminology changes beautifully in a recent article called (somewhat dauntingly) Mechanisms and Mitochondrial Redox Signalling in Photobiomodulation. Click here to read the full article.

Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT)

Almost 50 years ago in Hungary, Endre Mester found by accident, that a low power red laser noticeably improved wound healing.

It was initially thought that light delivered by a laser was the key factor in the wound healing, and so the term Low Level Laser Therapy, abbreviated to LLLT, was developed.

If you put “LLLT” in your favourite search engine, you’ll find a lot of references will pop up.

Continue reading “Red light definitions”

Red and near infrared light

Sunlight has a range of wavelengths, and these have been classified into four main groups: ultraviolet, visible, near infrared and far infrared. We can see the light in the visible spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo, violet) but we can’t see ultraviolet light and neither can we see infrared light.

Much research has been done on the effect of the sun’s ultraviolet light. It can cause premature ageing and increases the risk of skin cancers, hence the warnings to wear sunscreen to block those wavelengths from hitting the skin.

Until recent years, the effect of red and near infrared light, had been of less interest to medical science. It is now an area of increasing research, and the implications seem to be huge.

In 2015 an article with the rather daunting title Light Effect on Water Viscosity: Implications for ATP Biosynthesis, appeared in the journal Nature. It gave a very detailed description of the mechanism by which near infrared light can change the way that cells function.

Over the decades, there had been reports about the effectiveness of red and near infrared light on a range of medical conditions, but it was not taken terribly seriously in the early days. It seemed too good to be true.

  • How could shining a red/near infrared light onto a wound make it heal more rapidly?
  • How could shining red/near infrared light onto your head improve symptoms of depression, anxiety, Parkinson’s Disease or Alzheimer’s Disease?
  • How could shining red/near infrared light onto arthritic joints and sore muscles improve the joint and muscle function, and reduce pain?

I certainly was sceptical. The disdain started to dissipate on finding that there are good quality peer-reviewed medical research articles consistently showing that red/near infrared light had very desirable health effects in a range of different diseases.

Miserable mitochondria could be the fundamental problem in many diseases…

It is looking like many of the diseases, however they start and whichever part of the body they target, all end up with a common problem – poorly functioning mitochondria.

  • Give the miserable mitochondria a burst of red/near infrared light, and they fire into action. For a while. Give them another burst, and they fire up again.
  • Give the miserable mitochondria regular (eg twice daily) bursts of light, and the cell is able to function effectively on a day to day basis.

There is so much more to tell. The research findings are flooding in.

Keep tabs on this blog as it explores the medical literature on red and near infrared light.