a large study just released shows that electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)
I wanted to add a note here by way of background to understand how I think about neuromodulation and its relationship to psychotherapy and the healing process. I practiced as a psychotherapist for many years before becoming a psychologist in 1999. It then became clear by 2010 that the bulk of my clinical work would not fit within the scope of practice of Psychology. I found that psychoneurophysiology is a better term for what I was doing given the use of neurofeedback, photic and electromagnetic stimulation that then was combined with Bioenergetic Therapy (see link below). I offer this by way of explaining my theoretical and clinical perspective on treatment which leans heavily on neo-Reichian, general systems and psychodynamic theory and now digital neurotherapeutics and photobiomodulation.
Much of my focus is on larger systemic (interpersonal, group-as-a-whole, socio-cultural) factors and how those dynamics influence activity at the individual (person system) level. I use the idea of character armoring as it was defined by Reich and Lowen to capture the expression of trauma as it manifests physically as specific patterns of chronic muscular tension. These patterns then influence the other structive elements, e.g., fascial and neurodevelopmental maturation. All the pieces are connected as the old song taught us.
I recognized that the isomorphic pattern of contraction and expansion that defined character armor also manifested in the neurophysiological level as constrained dominant frequency activity that could be observed in the patterned behavior of the dominant EEG activity both in terms of absolute range of manifest frequency and variability within the range. Now its clear that we can use this way of understanding the flow of energy in the body to support healing using the noninvasive tools of photobiomodulation and functional medicine. The emotional/psychological aspects of healing can be best addressed using body-centered techniques that can help people unlock and express their full potential. It is very gratifying to me to see how all the pieces fit together and to then be able to help others learn as well. Some see these principles now as 'biohacks' and that doesn't really get at the heuristic quality but then heuristics aren't what they used to be along with pretty much everything else.
For a quick outline of Bioenergetics
This is a review paper that explores the uses of light therapy in treating depression, anxiety and Cognitive challenges especially among the elderly where effective treatment options are limited and often creating more problems than they solve. PBM is described as possibly 'filing a gap in areas where more mainstream interventions do not help to directly alleviate the highly negative impact of various forms of persistent anxiety, which often accompanies depression, nor pathways inducing associated feelings of sadness, helplessness, loss of interest in self-care as well as pleasure in daily activities in a practical as well as possibly in an observable functional and neural context.'
I have said for many years when I worked as a body-centered psychotherapist that what is often diagnosed as depression is more often the resulting state of chronic anxiety. The application of PBM has been shown to help elevate mood and provide people with more physical and emotional energy. The paper's author Ray Marks, commented on this in saying, "For vulnerable older adults who cannot exercise readily and do not respond favorably to antidepressant medications, it appears that non-thermal non-invasive applications of visible or near infrared light transcranial neuro-stimulation may be able to stimulate or inhibit targeted biological cells and tissues that undermine emotional health via a reproducible photochemical mechanism."
It is encouraging to see faculty from within elite schools within educational research community coming beginning to view PBM's potential as a resource for remediation of the serious neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative conditions in the elderly. I hope they will soon look down the telescope the other way and apply this insight to the children in our society who're needing relief from the overwhelming anxiety and resultant depression wrought by living in this era of endemic gun violence and pandemic-induced terror. The tools are available now to provide safe, reliable, low-cost, easily deployed help to our children and older adults.
The Daily Mail today published a brief article describing a new research report that appeared yesterday in the research journal Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine and Laser Surgery. The report documents the effectiveness of brief intensive transcranial light stimulation using near infrared light at 1065-1080nm. The results with a cohort of normal subjects showed that the group receiving active treatment improved on measures of memory, motor functioning and processing speed. This supports the findings of the recently published report by Baylor Research Institute and Quietmind Foundation on the use of this same device with 100 subjects diagnosed with Alzheimer's and some also with Parkinson's disease. The results in both trials were very similar and quite encouraging. Further studies are needed to refine the treatment method for different clinical groups. The Cognitolite device is now available through Quietmind Foundation as well as the QM-Neuronic device that also uses the 1070nm frequency but allow for control of stimulation pulse rate, duration and intensity.
New research from Univ. of Virginia Brain Immunology and Glia lab is showing how microglia influences cortical perfusion by controlling expansion and contraction of capillaries. This important finding supports previously reported findings on how transcranial photobiomodulation (PBM) could effect] cortical perfusion. In the study conducted at Quietmind Fdn., researchers used near infrared spectroscopy to measure the change in perfusion volume at the cortex surface from repeated, brief exposure to 1070nm pulsed PBM. Further, recent investigations have now shown how this type of therapeutic application of PBM can improve both cognitive, mood and motor functioning in people diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment and mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease.
Devices based on these findings are now available under clinical supervision through Quietmind Foundation. Inquiries should be directed to Marvin Berman PhD 610-940-0488
Read the UVA article here.
I thought this worth sharing for anyone struggling with neuropathy. Pay close attention to the dosing process employed here, starting with 30 seconds of treatment once a day. This is why it is strongly recommended that you use these devices under clinical supervision and not rely on manufacturers instructions for guidanc on best use of photobiomodulation devices.
I started using the Vielight Neuro Gamma PBM helmet on 4/16/2021. At that time, I was experiencing severe pain and leg weakness from an auto-immune neurological disorder, significant irritable bowel syndrome manifested by chronic constipation (IBS-C), recurrent chest pain due to a lung infection, excessive fatigue and depression. My auto-immune disorder and related medical issues problems had been steadily worsening since May 2019. By April 2021 I had trouble climbing more than three steps, walking more than a city block, carrying out simple house work or grocery shopping and chronic pain that averaged 5-8 daily (on a scale of 1 – 10).
My symptoms also interfered with memory and concentration.
I initially started using the Vielight as an alternative to increasingly powerful opioid pain killers. I tried the gamma stimulation for a 30 second interval once a day. I found the stimulation disruptive (it increased my irritability and depressed my mood). I then tried the alpha stimulation for 30 seconds, and slowly increased by 30 seconds to 5 minutes once a day. In June, after 2 months, I went to twice a day (morning and early evening) alpha stimulation with 5 minute durations.
I noticed that the severe neuropathic pain (burning, tingling in my legs and arms) as well as the severe joint pain in my knees, hands, wrists, and hips slowly decreased after about a month of daily use. I also noticed that my pain level would shoot back up if I skipped a day, and was excruciating if I skipped two days. I have discontinued strong pain killers and now only need an occasional Tylenol. In addition, my mood stabilized and markedly improved after 3 months of twice daily use. I use the Vielight while watching TV or reading the paper.
Prior to using the Vielight, I reached a point where I could not stand for more than 15 minutes or carry groceries over 5 pounds. I had to take stimulant medication in order to get out of bed. If I didn't take the medication, I needed daily hour-long naps in the mid-afternoon and didn’t have the energy to do anything. At times over the past two years, I have needed to use a cane or walker to be able to get around in my own home and couldn't walk more than 1/2 city block. Now, I can stand for several hours, easily ascend and descend two flights of stairs, and recently walked over 3,000 steps.
I had two episodes of severe colitis over the past year (one requiring hospitalization) and was taking prescription strength medication to address chronic constipation. In mid-September I started to taper the medication and as of October, no longer have a problem with constipation and have discontinued this medication. My strength has improved to a point that in early September I was able to resume food shopping, cooking, and light housework.
In early October 2021, (after 6 months of use) I started added 2 minutes of gamma stimulation followed by 5 minutes of alpha once a day in the morning, and a separate 5 minute session of alpha stim. in the afternoon. I will slowly increase the length of gamma stimulation. I immediately notice improved mental clarity. (For example, on 10/5 I suggested to my daughter’s NP that they check my daughter’s hormone blood levels and consider using Botox injections for pelvic pain).
Lastly, no more suicidal ideation.
Call 267-481-3987 for more information or write MarvinBerman@quietmindfdn.org
Tuesday, May 11, 2021
A Florida trial court has denied a defendant’s Daubert motion to strike the plaintiff’s expert’s testimony regarding qEEG testing. In Snyder v. ESURANCE Property and Casualty Insurance Company, Case No. 01-2018-CA-2651 (8th Judicial Circ. Ala. Chua. Cty., FL), the defendant sought to bar the testimony of Dr. Lisa Avery, an eligible board neurologist, from testifying regarding her interpretation of a quantitative electroencephalogram (qEEG). To support its motion, the defendant submitted “only” three articles and argued at a hearing that using qEEG for diagnosing mild traumatic brain injury had been prohibited by the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) for over 20 years. Noteworthy in the court’s opinion was that the AAN guideline relied upon by the defense was “retired” in January 2020 and was no longer the official position of the Academy.
The defendant presented two expert witnesses: Dr. Mary Schriver, a board- certified neurologist with a sub-specialty in neurophysiology, and Dr. Jason Demery, a board-certified neuropsychologist. While Dr. Schriver testified that she did not believe qEEG was a valid test for the diagnosis of traumatic brain injury, she did acknowledge that other doctors did use the test for that purpose. During the cross-examination, the plaintiff demonstrated that Dr. Schriver was unfamiliar with the software utilized by Dr. Avery, who was not an expert in interpreting it, and did not examine the raw data generated by the qEEG.
Dr. Demery also admitted that he was not qualified to administer or utilize a qEEG, nor was he an expert in qEEG in general. Dr. Demery disputed some findings in the numerous peer reviewed articles submitted by the plaintiff and raised false positives due to sleep apnea or medication, but did not produce, cite or reference any additional peer reviewed articles to support his position.
Contrasting the defendant’s presentation, the plaintiff submitted numerous peer-reviewed articles comprising over 140 pages, including book chapters and scientific journals supporting the use of qEEG in TBI diagnosis. The peer-review literature produced by the plaintiff denied the error rate argument supported by the defendant and established the wide-spread use of qEEG in diagnosing traumatic brain injury throughout the VA Hospital system. The plaintiff’s experts, Dr. Avery and Dr. Richard Boehme, M.D., testified that they used qEEG in their everyday practices and were familiar with the literature and its use. Due to their clinical experience, the court found the plaintiff’s witnesses to be persuasive.
After the court conducted a Daubert analysis, they found Dr. Avery was qualified, her testimony was based upon sufficient facts and data, and that utilizing qEEG as a tool to help diagnose traumatic brain injury was sufficiently reliable, scientific, and valid. The court also found that Dr. Avery reliably applied the qEEG to the specific case before it.
The court found that the case law presented by the defendant was not controlling as the cases cited were decided before the retirement of the AAN position and most were decided under a Frye standard. Based on the evidence offered at two hearings, the court concluded that qEEG testing related to traumatic brain injury was reliable and scientific when used with other tests or data, rejecting and denying defendant’s motion to strike.
Hard to imagine how anyone who understands what it must've been like to be working at Ground Zero on and after 9/11 could think there weren't going to be physical and mental consequences for the workers and survivors of that tragedy. No one should forget the chaos that followed in terms of people struggling to find survivors and the horror that they all endured in the process. It should not then surprise anyone that 20 years later we are witnessing the mental and emotional devastation that typically appears when people are in their 70s and 80s now is clearly evident in these folks in their 50s. The level of toxicity they were exposed to in a matter of days or weeks, most people never come close to in a lifetime.
Our work with people strugging with memory loss has taught us to look to the lifestyle and levels of exposure to black mold and other neurotoxins as well as being infected with spirochetes from tick bites. We also looked to the trauma that they endured in their lives from sexual and physical abuse, chronic pain and respiratory challenges as well as addiction to substances or disordered eating. The mismanagement of emotional stress challenges our immune system along with every other functional system in our body. How would that not add to the degrading our capacity to maintain a healthy internal biological and psychological ecosystem?
The report now about first responders developing early onset dementia comes as no surprise to me or anyone in my professional circle and it offers cold comfort to see these things coming and know there's very little attention being given let alone resources put toward mitigation of the downside risk and the inevitable disaster facing these brave souls who put their lives on the line for us every day. Grief over the enormity of the loss we suffered and that which was yet to come turned to anger shortly after the towers fell and it was clear that precious little attention being paid to the long term impact of being on the pile. The shocking enormity of the moment constrained most of our thinking to short term problem solving, coping with the next moment and the next. The axiom of those in recovery from addiction became the mantra for the country... 'one day at a time.'
There are tools available to these people to help them deal with their symptoms and possibly reverse their conditions or at least change the slope of decline. We've shown this to be true in our research on the use of self-administered transcranial infrared photobiomodulation (light therapy) and brainwave biofeedback. We are ready to help these heros first by letting them know that there is hope for recovery and the truth that time is the enemy in this situation. The sooner you start treatment the greater the chances are for improvement. Put the resources behind noninvasive technologies that have been proven effective in gold standard clinical trirals, that have no side effects, are easily deployed and would cost a fraction of what has been spent on the 500+ failed pharmaceutical trials in the vain search for a single molecule solution to a systemic disease. Researchers like Tom Lewis PhD (healthrevivalpartners.com) and Dale Bredesen (apollohealthco.com) foundational work has shown us there are alternatives to treating dementia, let's put them to work now for these brave souls who deserve nothing less than our absolute best.
I think Prof. Hamblin's opinions on photobiomodulation are as sound as anyone's given his depth of knowledge and experience in this field. I've had the pleasure to collaborate with him several book chapters and articles over the years and have never come away from an interaction not having learned something new and valuable about how to think about the mechanisms and clinical application of LED light.
I'm extracting some comments that I think are of particular importance in gaining a level of appreciation for what is possible in the application of this technology to both the acute and systemic health problems we now face, especially in the era of the COVID 19 pandemic. These comments are taken from an interview Prof. Hamblin did with Joseph Mercola, MD
The range of near infrared goes from 700-1200nm
"You can't say that light is a food. What light does is it allows you to use your food much more efficiently."
"By and large, the thing to remember about photobiomodulation is it's highly biphasic in dose. Many people have got themselves into trouble by giving too much light."
power density is 10mw 1J every 100 sec. 10J is a reasonable dose.
2mw-40mw is the likely effective range and the ideal
lasers have focused spots. 10mw laser delivers 10mw not 1W.
One trend is to have flexible LEDs that are wearable for pain treatment. OLEDs are in fact flexible and mostly in the red range.
Ideally, we want to have highly active wavelengths of light that penetrate well into the body."
nanostructured water is present on hydrophobic surfaces and inside the cell of all membranes. The mitochondria are full of nano-structured water. These can strongly influence ion channels with no change in temperature.
The kind of light that produces the other nitric oxide pathways are blue and green mostly.
Light isn't a food, it does help the cells make the best use of food. Combined with light exercise the adding of infrared light is a great positive benefit.
All the 800s seem to be the same and the 660s are mostly the same. So 660 can confer the same benefits as the 800s.
Light is very good at generating stem cells in bone marrow.
In my opinion the effects are so surprisingly good that in 5-10 years PBM for AD has to be pretty much out there.
Changes macrophage phenotype from M1 to M2 are really good at improving microglial function and phagocytosis (gobbling up the garbage, e.g., amyloid plaques, tau tangles, alpha synuclein aggregates.
I can see a day when every household will have one or two light therapy devices.
Pulsed frequency is showing to be better than continuous wave stimulation.
Recent reports out of the recent Alzheimer's Association International Conference from researchers at NYU's Grossman School of Medicine showed evidence of a strong correlation between COVID 19 infection and acceleration of Alzheimer's disease pathology onset. They found that the patients admitted to the hospital for COVID 19 with neurologic events were largely (51%) diagnosed with toxic metabolic encephalopathy (TME) consisting mainly of septic and hypoxic ischemia. More than 50% of all subjects in the study who were followed for 6 months developed impaired cognitive functioning that diminished their ability to perform activities of daily living. However, the subjects who were followed who had been diagnsoed with COVID 19 were twice as functionally compromised when compared to the control sample.
The study also identified a number of plasma biomarkers associated with neuronal injury and dementia that were elevated in the COVID 19 cohort compared with controls. One measure in particular was Aβ42 which were significantly lower in the plasma which suggests increased levels would be found in the brain. This protein is shown to be elevated in people diagnosed with Alzheimer's and increases in line with disease progression.
It is therefore worth noting that early animal research conducted at Durham University on the use of 1070nm pulsed infrared light stimulation noted marked decreases in Aβ42 found after photobiomodulation treatment. (Grillo,2013). This combined with the recent evidence (Nizmutdinov,etal, 2021) of significant functional improvement in cognitive, behavioral and motor symptoms following 60 days of brief, twice-daily, self-administered 1070nm pulsed PBM therapy, It would not seem very unreasonable then to assume that intensive transcranial 1070nm photobiomodulation therapy could be useful in mitigation of neurological sequelae from COVID 19 infection.
Grillo,SL, Duggett NA, Ennaceur A, Chazot PL. Non-invasive infrared therapy (1072 nm) reduces β-amyloid protein levels in the brain of an Alzheimer's disease mouse model, TASTPM. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2013 Jun 5;123:13-22. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2013.02.015.
Transcranial Near Infrared Light Stimulations Improve Cognition in Patients with Dementia.
Nizamutdinov, D, Qi, X, Berman,MH, Dougal, G, Dayawansa, S, Wu,X, Yi, S, Stevens, AB, Huang, JH. Aging and Disease, Volume 12, Number 5, June, 2021.
View article from Medscape here: www.medscape.com/viewarticle/955755?
Our team regularly publishes articles and blog posts on the latest research and news coming out of our group and the field in general.