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
Our team regularly publishes articles and blog posts on the latest research and news coming out of our group and the field in general.