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.

Continue reading “Red lights preserve brain cells…and make more of ‘em”

Smelling Parkinson’s

This article tells the story of Joy Milne, a Scottish nurse who realised that she could smell Parkinson’s disease. Tragically, she noticed the smell on her husband, a decade before he was officially diagnosed with Parkinson’s. The smell comes from the changes in the skin, the same changes that affect tolerance to temperature changes.

Read to the end, as Joy’s comments are very powerful. She shows how the non-movement symptoms of Parkinson’s can be far more damaging to quality of life and relationships than the tremors and other movement problems.

For more about the non-movement symptoms and their importance, read parts 4 and 5 of this post.

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.

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.

What wavelength is best for my condition?

If you have looked at the availability of rolls of red and near infrared LED lights, you will see that there is a bewildering array, between orangey-red (630nm) to out of the visible spectrum so that you can’t see it at all (940nm).

So what, you ask. Surely it doesn’t matter? Surely red light, near infrared light – it’s all the same? One wavelength is as good as another?

Wavelength matters – please be cautious!

Continue reading “What wavelength is best for my condition?”