Transcranial lights are the way to go.

Here’s a new journal article from the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. I’m a co-author, but don’t let that get in the way.

This article looks at the animal and clinical evidence for the use of transcranial and intracranial red and near infrared light devices. There is a lot of detailed information, including and in-depth description of the effect of transcranial red and near infrared lights in people with Parkinson’s disease.

As for which is best – intracranial or transcranial? The verdict is that neither is best on its own. The best is having both working together. It makes sense, having light shining from inside and outside the brain.

Alas, you might be waiting a while before you get access to an intracranial light implant (think DBS with a 670nm LED light), but you can use transcranial lights right now. You can make your own (instructions are here) or look at the Duo Coronet (link is here) .

Meanwhile, have a read…

Reference

Johnstone DM, Hamilton C, Gordon LC, Moro C, Torres N, Nicklason F, Stone J, Benabid AL, Mitrofanis J. Exploring the Use of Intracranial and Extracranial (Remote) Photobiomodulation Devices in Parkinson’s Disease: A Comparison of Direct and Indirect Systemic Stimulations. J Alzheimers Dis. 2021;83(4):1399-1413. doi: 10.3233/JAD-210052. PMID: 33843683.

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.