Pulsing light and Alzheimer’s disease

I’ve been reading articles suggesting that Alzheimer’s disease is linked with a disruption of brain wave patterns, especially the gamma waves which are predominant in the brain when we are concentrating and focussed.

One group increased gamma wave activity in Alzheimer’s mice by pulsing light. In this research, it wasn’t the light that was of interest to the researchers, it was the pulse rate. They used 40Hz, in the gamma brainwave frequency range.

Here is a great report about that experiment and it’s implications.

stimulating neurons to produce gamma waves at a frequency of 40 Hz reduces the occurrence and severity of several Alzheimer’s-associated symptoms in a mouse model of the disease. 

It seems that pulsing the light does more than enable red light to penetrate more deeply into the brain. Pulsing at 40Hz seems to stimulate the brain’s immune and clean-up cells, the microglia to get cracking with brush and pan.

I have visions of microglial cells dancing to the 40 Hz rhythm as they clear up brain rubbish, including the proteins that accumulate in Alzheimer’s – amyloid and tau.

In 40Hz pulsed red light, the brain gets the benefits of the red light action inside the cells, and the benefits of brain-protection activities stimulated by brainwaves responding at 40Hz.

Fascinating stuff, isn’t it.

Meanwhile, if you are feeling worried that your Eliza or Cossack doesn’t pulse, don’t fret. The daily light dose is doing its work. More.

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.

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.

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?”

Pulsed vs continuous light

I’ve had a number of queries about pulsed light.

There is good evidence now that pulsed light is more effective than continuous light. Maybe the cell batteries, the mitochondria like to have a little pause in between receiving a pulse of light energy and directing it into the cell as metabolic energy. It makes sense.

The other reason is that by pulsing the light, the light dose is then the average of the pulse-ON and pulse-OFF. This means you can push the power in the pulse-ON, knowing that it will be offset by the no-pulse time.

I know of several people who have gone on to pulse their LED-based Elizas and Cossacks, and I have nothing but total admiration and envy for them, but there is no way I could do that.

The reasons that I have not previously mentioned the value of pulsed light is because;

1. I couldn’t give instructions to achieve it

2. I didn’t want anyone to devalue the effectiveness of continuous red/near infrared light.

Daily unpulsed red light better than no red light.

If you are using your Eliza or Cossack with continuous red/infrared light, do not be tempted to chuck it in the corner and refuse to use it because it won’t pulse. It is still doing its very best for you, and that is a lot better than nothing.

Talking to your doctor

This ABC story is generating interest in red lights and Parkinson’s disease.

You might want to discuss red lights with your doctor.

If you take in a copy of the ABC story, your doctor will most likely inwardly sigh and tell you not to believe everything you read.

Here’s a better idea – give your doctor original research articles!

Here’s how to do that:

    Please read this earlier blog post about how to help your doctor
    Download and print the medical journal article article on that post. This article is by Prof John Mitrofanis and is a fabulous summary of red lights effect on brain cells.
    Please read a 2018 blog post about a new journal article. This article describes the Tasmanian case studies mentioned in the ABC story.
    Download and print this medical journal article as well.
    Take both articles to your doctor.

Blind your doctor with science – it’s the kind thing to do…