Combining Photobiomodulation and Neurofeedback and Functional Medicine with Dale Bredesen, MD and Julie Gregory
I was extremely pleased to be interviewed by Dr. Dale Bredesen and Julie Gregory on Dr. Bredesen's Facebook Live channel on Thursday.
We covered a range of topics related to the mechanisms of action of infrared light photobiomodulation (PBM) and other forms of non-invasive stimulation, neurofeedback training and how these safe, reliable, affordable technologies can enhance the effectiveness of functional medicine as a treatment model for neurodegenerative conditions. This will hopefully be viewed those patients and clinicians who have trained and are affiliated with Apollo Health in order to expand the availability of these types of home-based, low-cost, non-drug, noninvasive treatment options for people seeking to stop or prevent cognitive and functional decline.
We will post the full transcript of the program along with additional links to information discussed in the program and some discount codes for purchasing the light therapy devices. I'm quite keen to see how we can put together a trial that will combine RECODE, PBM and neurofeedback.
Researchers are now able to report that the COVID 19 virus has the ability to cause small vessel damage to the brain tissue itself and not impair neuronal activity as was previously thought. The key point was made by the study author, Anna Cervantes, MD "Even though most of the coagulopathy is largely venous and probably microvascular, this does affect the brain through a myriad of ways". Our efforts to encourage the use of photobiomodulation are rooted in the knowledge that inflammatory processes include microvasular occlusion resulting in hypoperfusion. These are the fundamental hallmarks for all neurodegenerative disorders and why we advocate so strongly for taking prophylactic steps now to protect our brain with near infrared stimulation and functional medicine to reduce or hopefully remove neurotoxicity.
The combined approach of photobiomodulation and neurofeedback has proven to be of considerable benefit to many patients who needed to feel a sense of hope and control over their condition which is a key part of the integrative health model at QMF.
The list of symptoms that are now being seen to have links to COVID 19 infection are growing especially in the area of neurological and neuropsychiatric conditions. I think we are going to be seeing a large increase in people reporting these kinds of problems over the coming months and years and neurologists and mental health professionals are going to need all the tools they can muster to help their patients recover.
One very recently reported area of dysfunction is the brainstem which controls many basic life functions, include respiration, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal functions and neurological functions. We must be vigilant about making sure that the brain is protected against further injury from the COVID virus which can attack areas around the brain while not necessarily attacking the brain itself. Photobiomodulation is a way to treat the brain tissue that can provide protection against future injury while boosting the resources that are needed to help heal and improve overall brain functions.
Read the article here: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33538586/
The point of the paper is to focus on the value of a particular RNA component that appears to regulate neuronal growth in the stem cell. The more mature cells in the brain, the better protection against degeneration was seen. Our research partners at Durham Univ. are keen to study the effects of photobiomodulation on Micro-RNA behavior and we are actively fund raising for to support these studies. Please consider helping us with this effort with a tax deductible donation to the QMF research fund.
The current efforts we've undertaken show that photobiomodulation has positive effects on mitochondria and other cellular components associated with neuronal health and resistance to damage. Our hope is that we can further clarify the specific mechanisms down to the most basic level in order to optimize the treatment models we can then develop for a wide range of neurodegenerative and neuropsychiatric conditions.
We can see this is an important aspect of how we may be able to intervene in the post-COVID long hauler syndromes that are emerging now, especially in neurology and psychiatry. It may be that targeted dosing of this treatment can bring about substantial improvement in patients now struggling just to survive the day.
I'm now at a new level in my efforts to influence public opinion regarding the use of noninvasive treatments for cognitive and behavioral symptoms associated with dementia. We've now had a report on a multi-site, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted within the Dept. of Neurosurgery at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center which is affiliated with Texas A&M School of Medicine published in a peer-reviewed journal
Stimulation as a concept evokes all manner of associations from sexual to intellectual and all stops in between up and down the spinal column. The need for an anxieties associated with stimulation fill many books and other forms of artistic and cultural expression. There is a growing appreciation for the application of light stimulation as a healing methodology especially in the context of neurological disorders including dementia or memory loss, movement disorders like Parkinson's and ALS and the myriad of challenges that arise from exposure to the modern sources of toxicity, eg. pollutants and electromagnetic fields and those we have lived with for millenia and are only now beginning to recognize like Lyme disease and other tick-borne infections.
This article is a good source for basic information on photobiomodulation and more about the Vielight product line. We've been pleased with what we have been able to achieve using the Vielight with some patients and disappointed where the need for broader stimulation at different pulse rates and depth was needed. We can now provide alternative treatment options when the Vielight is not the appropriate tool for the job in our opinion. Our expertise and experience can be very helpful to folks who are looking for specific results and have a unique set of clinical conditions and history that really needs to be considered closely in order to provide the optimal protocol for using photobiomodulation. This kind of information is not what you get from a blog post or a device review and certainly not from the manufacturer's website as this would be a violation of the boundaries around making claims beyond what you are cleared to make by the regulatory bodies that manage medical device registration etc.
Seek professional clinical consultation for specific application of these technologies to safely and reliably get what you are seeking from these highly effective and promising tools.
Really tough question for sure. I am regularly in the position of being asked whether the things we can offer will help someone's parent, spouse, sibling, lover, partner recover their memory and other cognitive and physical functioning. I understand that I'm going to be asked these questions and each time my internal experience is that I have to answer this for the first time. Each situation is different and yet there are some aspects that are unchanging, mainly the profound pain and fear coming from the questioner. I take in their feelings and it resonates with my own sense of urgency, frustration and fundamental impotence.
What we know is that in principle the combining of functional medicine, neurofeedback and light therapy can have a profound effect on the progression of dementing illnesses. The root cause analysis is crucial to being able to address each person's condition effectively. This is not difficult to understand and yet it is a challenge to explain this to people struggling with loss of cognition and their family members who are seeking answers and solutions. Explaining the 3-legged stool that comprises our thinking is sometimes hard to grasp and yet is necessary to elicit compliance especially when we are not talking about a shot or a pill taken once or twice a day. Especially when we are talking about spending sometimes thousands of dollars on therapies that are not acknowledged to be effective by the FDA or Medicare or the AMA. We are asking people to trust us with their lives and resources at an extremely vulnerable point in their lives and this must be dealt with directly and with complete transparency and integrity.
We have evidence that what we're suggesting works, studies have been published but they are few and the sample sizes are often less than 50 subjects. Our recently completed trial on transcranial and intraocular infrared photobiomodulation had 100 subjects in two sites which makes it larger than the typical study in this field. Our collaborators being a large academic medical institution is also a helpful addition to bolstering our credibility. The point is that there is evidence to support the use of these methods of treatment and they are not what is being promoted on television or currently being funded by the NIH. We are hopeful that this will change soon and that combined photobiomodulation and neurofeedback training will find support within the Alzheimer's Clinical Trials Division.
The hard part of knowing when to stop compulsively trying the next thing that 'might help' is how to cope with the thought that you didn't do everything you could. We don't want to be blamed by others but moreso not by ourselves for having stopped trying to 'help'. How to live with the guilt and recrimination? Admit that you were doing things more to reduce your distress than to help them recover. If we listen to the traditional doctors these days, there's 'nothing to be done' other than palliative and hospice care for people with moderate to severe dementia. I think this has led folks to terrible conflict wherein they want to accept the relief of 'there's nothing I can do' while feeling the need to 'do something'. The hard conversations that must be had with family to admit what they are feeling and then be guided as to what can be done to support their loved one while also supporting the family as a whole's survival and well being. The questions about 'how long do we want this to go on? What is realistic for us to do to help them recover, i.e., how much time, energy and resources can we put toward this endeavor? How do we support each other in managing our guilt when it comes up and how to do we manage our impulses to reduce our own difficult feelings by putting them on someone else?
Don't skip over these conversations not matter how much you'd like to as they will serve the family and you in the years ahead.
The Freespira respiration training system is a game-changing resource for people in our practice and with whom we've conducted research to evaluate its' effectiveness. This study:https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10484-020-09465-0 linked here is a recent study of the Freespira with panic disordered patients. Our work with subjects experiencing anxiety, PTSD, post-concussion syndrome and panic disorder have all reported significan and lasting improvement in symptoms. Please consider this safe and reliable option for home-baed, self-administered, non-drug help If you are struggling with anxiety as many people are in this exceedingly challenging time. The treatment is available at a significant discount along with a comprehensive neurophysiological assessment for those participating in our trials. Contact Dr. Berman at 610-940-0488 for details or email to email@example.com
We are seeing a remarkable moment in our field where pretiigious laboraories like Ben Gurion University are making claims of new breakthroughs in the field of neurophysiology that for some of us are coming about 50 years after the fact. This report notes that EEG activity of people with neurodegenerative diseases exhibit predictably altered patterns of brain electrical activity that can be measured noninvasively. The focus is on non focal seizure activity that relates to abnormalities in cortical perfusion. Our lab described this in an early poster at the 2009 International Alzheimer's Association meeting in Vienna. We showed that subjects were able to modify their brainwave activity using operant conditioning methods which translated into improved behavioral and cogntitive functioning on a number of neuropsychological test measures.
In a study published in 2017 we showed that near infrared spactroscopy of subjects receiving daily transcranial and intraocular pulsed near-infrared light therapy showed a significant increase in the range of perfusion and extraction of blood flow in the frontal lobes. These increases also correlated with improve cognitive functioning, behavior and mood stability.
Hopefully, these institutions will consider integrating these approaches and noting the potential synergistic potential as we are doing now in our current trials.
Our team regularly publishes articles and blog posts on the latest research and news coming out of our group and the field in general.