I think this offers substantive support for the use of directed neurostimulation as a structural, tissue-level substrate for the future design of integrative digital neurotherapeutics. This paper outlines how direct current stimulation can achieve these results and we already know that photobiomodulation can do the same and more at molecular and possibly deeper levels of organization.
This article was timely in that I wanted to present something about how entrainment influences neuroplasticity as a way to underscore the relevance of using specific QEEG-informed pulse frequencies in the delivery of tPBM. This paper is helpful specifically as it relates to visual processing efficiency, i.e., perceptual decision making. It is not much of an inference to extrapolate to other sensory processes and the likelihood that their functionality will be positively effected using the same methodology. The Neuradiant 1070+ technology integrated this principle by including pulse frequency control in 4 independent quadrants.
From the abstract:
Training is known to improve our ability to make decisions when interacting in complex environments. However, individuals vary in their ability to learn new tasks and acquire new skills in different settings. Here, we test whether this variability in learning ability relates to individual brain oscillatory states. We use a visual flicker paradigm to entrain individuals at their own brain rhythm (i.e. peak alpha frequency) as measured by resting-state electroencephalography (EEG). We demonstrate that this individual frequency-matched brain entrainment results in faster learning in a visual identification task (i.e. detecting targets embedded in background clutter) compared to entrainment that does not match an individual’s alpha frequency. Further, we show that learning is specific to the phase relationship between the entraining flicker and the visual target stimulus. EEG during entrainment showed that individualized alpha entrainment boosts alpha power, induces phase alignment in the pre-stimulus period, and results in shorter latency of early visual evoked potentials, suggesting that brain entrainment facilitates early visual processing to support improved perceptual decisions. These findings suggest that individualized brain entrainment may boost perceptual learning by altering gain control mechanisms in the visual cortex, indicating a key role for individual neural oscillatory states in learning and brain plasticity.
Ritualized compulsive comfort-seeking (what traditionalists call addiction) is a normal response to the adversity experienced in childhood, just like bleeding is a normal response to being stabbed. Dr. Dan Sumrok makes this very cogent point concerning the neuropsychophysiological basis of what we commonly refer to as addition. Many have spoken about the broken D2 dopamine receptor gene theory created by scientists like pharmacology professor Kenneth Blum Ph.D to stop craving reactions. Gabor Mate, MD (In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction) made the point that addiction occurs in contexts where attachment bonds are broken or absent. Neurofeedback pioneers showed that addiction and criminal behavior could be eliminated without drugs using brain repatterning techniques.
We should now add photobiomodulation to this list of noninvasive interventions that can be employed to help repair damaged brain functioning with properly targeted, transcranial pulsed infrared light stimulation. Our work at Quietmind Fdn. and and in collaboration with Neuronic Devices Ltd. is focused on development integrated assessment and therapeutic technologies that can rebalance traumatized dysfunctional brain networks and confer protection against further damage.
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In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts: Close Encounters with Addiction (Paperback)
Paying attention to our brain’s well-being ensures that our mental health and cognitive abilities are in top shape. Some excellent ways to take care of your brain health are exercising, socializing, and having a nutritious diet. However, many Americans miss one factor they don’t realize is crucial for their minds — light.
Sunlight is essential in regulating serotonin and melatonin. These are connected to mood and cognitive function. Yet Verywell Mind reports that despite the benefits of sunlight, around a billion people worldwide have insufficient exposure to it. Unfortunately, not everyone can have ample sunlight where they are. As a solution, they can try out light therapy. Here’s what you need to know about this vital treatment.
How does light therapy work?
Light therapy is an indoor treatment used to promote cognitive function and treat various mental health conditions. It does this by using artificial light to simulate both sunshine and its effect on our brains. This allows light therapy to boost the production of melatonin and serotonin in your body. It also helps you receive a dose of vitamin D, which is essential for the immune system, muscular health, and mental health.
The treatment uses light devices like a light therapy box or lamp, which emit bright light, or headset devices like the Vielight or the Cognitolite, which emit infrared light. Depending on the device used, patients are instructed on the optimal distance from the light and the duration needed to get their daily dose.
How can light therapy help you?
One of the most common conditions that light therapy addresses is seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — also called the winter blues or seasonal depression — which, as its name suggests, is a kind of depression tied to the changing of the seasons. Light therapy works since it mimics the natural sunlight that cooler seasons lack.
Light therapy sessions have shown immediate improvements in cognitive performance, mood, and energy. As such, it’s been used to address various mental health conditions and circadian rhythm disorders. Most importantly, it can also benefit our cognitive function to arrest the development of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases.
What do you need to consider before going into light therapy?
As long as you stick to the prescribed distance and duration according to your light therapy device, the treatment is generally harmless. However, people with particular health conditions may not be suited for the treatment. The biggest risks in light therapy are skin and eye damage, especially for those with preexisting medical conditions. It may also harm those taking medications that heighten one's sensitivity to light. In these cases, prolonged periods of light therapy may manifest in sunburns or dermatitis.
If any of these may apply to you, consult your physician before trying light therapy. Consider a telehealth consultation if you can’t afford or find a doctor to consult, especially as America is currently experiencing a doctor shortage. Pennsylvania is working to become part of the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact, allowing doctors to practice telehealth across states. So remote physicians in Delaware — where many doctors who work in telehealth specialize in primary care — can treat patients in Greater Philadelphia and vice versa for greater access and affordability. By availing of these services, you can have the overall state of your health diagnosed and see how you can safely benefit from light therapy.
Light therapy can help expose us safely to light, benefitting many brain areas. By ensuring that you can safely make use of this treatment, you can improve your mental health and prolong your cognitive function. For more information on light therapy, you can check us out here on Quietmind.
Article was specially written for https://www.quietmindfdn.org/ by Alice Palmer
January 02nd, 2023
I'm very happy to share this recently published findings of a recent study of 940nm stimulation using 300 LEDs emitting 200mw and the total power density 2.9cm2 15min/day for a week.
Just in case there's anyone still wondering about how challenging COVID 19 infections can be to our brain functioning, there's this report from Harvard.
This paper from University of Birmingham confirmed that 1064nm light stimulation to the right frontal cortex improves working memory in normal adults. This is a good study comparing a single 12 minute treatment with a 1064nm or an 852nm laser light to the left or right side of the forehead.
This was a single blind sham controlled study with participants being instructed to respond as quickly and accurately
as possible whether the orientation or color of the objects presented on computer monitor in the cued hemifield had changed after the WM delay. Event related potentials were used as a biomarker for working memory capacity and showed a clear increase in the delay in occipital-parietal activity in the 1064nm stimulation group.
Both low and high performing subgroups in the study sample responded to the 1064nm stimulation with significant working memory improvements. There also was no difference in the results among those subjects with low or high working memory ability measured before they engaged in the experimental treatment process. These findings support previously unpublished findings from experiments conducted at Quietmind Fdn. (2012-2020) wherein a single 6-minute administration of pulsed 1068nm LED-based transcranial and intraocular stimulation. Subjective reports of significant visual perception changes, e.g., >85% of volunteers (N≈500) reported increased overall sensation of increased brightness, richness of color, discriminative acutiy, and depth of field. Subjects were responding to viewing a natural scene just outside the clinic offices before and then immediately following the stimualtion session, that included grass, bushes, trees in the nearfield 3-5m and at a distance (10-20m). These experiments were conducted at all times during the day and over all seasons. This correlates with the point made in the present study as to the neurophysiological mechanism being an increased amount of visual data being processed, i.e., 'the amount of information being maintained in working memory' (p.3)
The present study wisely considered the effect of tissue heating by the higher 1064nm light wavelength and so they equalized the light delivery from both wavelengths of light were delivered equally to the scalp tissue. They found that the behavioral and electrophysiological findings with 1064nm tPBM were not explained by heating. While the electrophysiological measures produced marginal significance the subjects own perception of difference between the two treatment modalities was no greater than chance. (p.5)
Quietmind and Neuronic are now collaborating with one of the study's authors Prof. Liu at UT-Arlington to study the biological impact of 1070nm LED-based tPBM with both normal and clinical populations.
Our efforts to promote the use of 1070nm intranasal and transcranial stimulation for prevention of COVID neuroinflammation has now been independently validated by this current report from Univ. of Queensland in Australia regarding changes in Microglial NLRP3 inflammasome activation. This response is associated with neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease and has been the focus of efforts by our collaborators at Durham University. This most recent finding is direct invitro evidence for how SARS COVID 2 virus causes the brain to become inflamed and 'angry' according to the authors Trent Woodruff and Eduardo Albornoz Balmaceda from the university’s School of Biomedical Sciences and virologists from the School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences. It was published in Nature’s Molecular Psychiatry.
The Neuradiant 1070nm transcranial photobiomodulation device can help reduce the inflammatory burden as we showed in our recent review article on the subject. (see attached)
We hope to see more efforts undertaken to show the value of light therapy as a way to quickly and safely protect ourselves from the neuroinflammatory damage that comes with COVID. More information at neuronic.online
When Less Really Does Mean More
I've made the point in numerous places that the photobiomodulation dose response curve is not like American capitalism, more is not always better. Here is a very good basic science example that helps support this view. Researchers used different amount of light energy on human skin cells to see how they'd respond. The key result was that the lower power settings produce the most positive change in cell proliferation activity.
Majority people who are now using the Neuradiant 1070+, as well as the Vielight Neuro devices, report benefit from shorter periods of stimulation and do not experience any of the typical overdose responses including headaches, increased sense of congestion and pressure, agitation, irritability, dizziness, and fatigue. This has informed the Neuradiant's titration protocol to start with 3 minutes, then wait 5-10 minutes before continuing for another 3 minutes. The stimulation location, pulse frequency, and intensity are each both programmed based on clinical history, telehealth consultation and quantitative EEG analysis. The dosing schedule often increases over time and can even exceed 20 minutes in some cases to as much as 30 minutes twice daily but always with an eye to recognizing signs of overdose and then adjusting accordingly.
PBM dosing is an evolving process and will become more specific as we evolve our real time neurometric acquisition and anlalytic capability.
Neurofeedback helps reduce 'Chemofog'
What my colleagues and I have been saying for quite some time is now being supported by independent research findings about the value of brainwave biofeedback training as a way to reduce neuroinflammation resulting from chemotherapy. Women being treated for breast cancer engaged in neurofeedback training 3 times a week for up to 9 weeks for a total of 18, 30-minute training sessions. Quantitative EEG and neuropsychological testing was done before and after the training sessions were completed and indicated significant improvement in a range of cognitive and executive function measures. The sample size is too small to draw conclusions but is compelling enough to warrant larger studies. Quietmind Fdn. IRB reviewed a study conducted in 2013 by Jean Alvarez and her colleagues using neurofeedback for breast cancer patients using a different method of neurofeedback and similar results were obtained. We're encouraged to see these findings now coming out of a major academic research university and hope that it will lead to larger trials and hopefully FDA approval and insurance reimbursement.
Our team regularly publishes articles and blog posts on the latest research and news coming out of our group and the field in general.