Wavelengths

I had an interesting query today regarding the penetration of red and near infrared light into the body.

Question:

Does the penetration of red and near infrared light increase as the wavelength increases?

Answer:

Alas, no. The human body isn’t going to make life that easy for us!

Penetration studies have shown that 810 nanometres (written as 810nm) has the best ability to penetrate through the skin and into the body tissues.

There are some wavelengths in the red and near infrared spectrum that hardly penetrate at all, while others are better. 810nm is the best.

810nm is in the near infrared range. Because it is at the very edge of our ability to see, an 810nm light looks very pale.

Visible red 670nm is pretty good, but not as good as 810nm. However, when the 670nm wavelength reaches the cell, it is highly efficient at getting the cell batteries (mitochondria) to recharge and kickstart the cell.

Thanks To Steve Harvey on Unsplash for the great photo from Nottingham.

Blood glucose and red light

There’s been increasing interest in photobiomodulation and muscles.

Researchers from Brazil have been looking further into this, curious to see what happens to blood glucose (often called blood sugar) when a combination of red and near infrared light is shone into muscles. Their interest was piqued by reports that photobiomodulation can help lower blood glucose levels in people with diabetes. Blood glucose levels stay high in diabetes and that causes all sorts of problems for the rest of the body.

Continue reading “Blood glucose and red light”

Magnificent mitochondria

Thomas Ryan and David Tumbarello, two British researchers, published a very interesting two-page review article due to be published in September 2021, but made available early.

It seems that mitochondria, the batteries in our cells, aren’t merely being driven by other, more high-status, parts of the cell. It looks like the mitochondria themselves might be in the driver’s seat, at least for some aspects of their activity. We should take more notice of them.

Continue reading “Magnificent mitochondria”

Epilepsy and light

It is looking like transcranial photobiomodulation could improve epilepsy that results from having a stroke.

Having a stroke is a scary thing. So many parts of the body can be affected and the likelihood of full recovery is incredibly variable. To add to the misery, you can be left with epilepsy.

If you are even more unlucky, you will be one of the one third of people whose epilepsy doesn’t respond to standard medications. Treatment-resistant epilepsy is a dreadful burden to the individual and the family.

Dr Vogel’s research team looked at the effect of light on the heads of rats who had stroke-induced epilepsy. They compared recordings of brain activity from before starting transcranial light and sixty days after treatment.

They found that the rats who had been treated with transcranial light had fewer seizures and the duration of seizures had shortened.

While this is a very early report, it strongly suggests that transcranial photobiomodulation could reduce the impact of epilepsy in people who have had a stroke. This is exciting work.

Reference:

Vogel, DDS, Ortiz‐Villatoro, NN, de Freitas, L, et al. Repetitive transcranial photobiomodulation but not long‐term omega‐3 intake reduces epileptiform discharges in rats with stroke‐induced epilepsy. J. Biophotonics. 2021; 14:e202000287. https://doi.org/10.1002/jbio.202000287

The beautiful photo is by Josh Riemer on Unsplash

Movement and Molecules

Below is an excellent article written by Gretchen Reynolds, first published in the New York Times and reprinted in The Age on 1 December 2020. Reynolds describes new research into the effect of movement on molecules in the blood and what that might mean for quality of life and length of life.

If you’ve ever thought that exercise of any degree or duration is over-rated, then this is the article for you: Link

Thanks to John Moeses Bauan from Unsplash for this gorgeous photo.

Mitochondria & Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease researchers have had to do a complete revision of thinking. For decades, the focus has been on getting rid of an abnormal protein, called amyloid, that plonks itself  in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s.

It was a reasonable hypothesis. Amyloid and Alzheimer’s seem to go together, so it seemed logical that in getting rid of amyloid proteins, Alzheimer’s would be cured.

Billions of dollars later, and despite lots of trials with amyloid-chewing drugs, it seems that amyloid is not the culprit.

Q: So what is the culprit?
A: Lots of things, especially mitochondria, the batteries that power our cells.

It’s not a surprise that miserable mitochondria are heavily involved in Alzheimer’s. More and more evidence is showing that moping mitochondria appear in many different diseases. It seems that cell battery management is critical, which makes a lot of sense.

The number of articles linking Alzheimer’s and mitochondria are increasing, and the hope is to find pharmaceutical solutions. That’s good, but there is a solution already in place. And one without side effects.

Photobiomodulation acts on the cell mitochondria, the cell batteries, and boosts the cell activity, stimulates the cell nucleus to start making new cells, opens up the blood vessels and stimulates the blood vessels to sprout more branches. We know from research, case studies and observations of people with Alzheimer’s disease that red and near infrared transcranial lights used daily can improve memory, judgement, attention and concentration, mood, apathy, sleep quality, fatigue, not to mention increasing enjoyment of life.

It would be so good if some of those billions of dollars for Alzheimer’s research would include more work on photobiomodulation.

References:
1. Stojakovic, A., Trushin, S., Sheu, A. et al. Partial inhibition of mitochondrial complex I ameliorates Alzheimer’s disease pathology and cognition in APP/PS1 female mice. Commun Biol 4, 61 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-020-01584-y Link.
2. Bell, Simon M.; Barnes, Katy; De Marco, Matteo; Shaw, Pamela J.; Ferraiuolo, Laura; Blackburn, Daniel J.; Venneri, Annalena; Mortiboys, Heather. 2021. “Mitochondrial Dysfunction in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Biomarker of the Future?” Biomedicines 9, no. 1: 63. Link

Thanks to Mika Baumeister on Unsplash for the wonderful image of a battery.