According to recent findings published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, light therapy can improve behavioral disturbances, sleep quality, and symptoms of depression in adults with mild cognitive impairment and dementia.
“No known meta-analyses have extensively investigated light therapy for people with varying degrees of cognitive impairment such as [mild cognitive impairment] and dementia,” Huei-Ling Chiu, MS, RN, from the School of Nursing, College of Nursing at Taipei Medical University, and colleagues wrote. “Most meta-analyses of light therapy have analyzed individuals with sleep disorders or depression and other mental illnesses as their target groups. Only one study focused on individuals with dementia.”
Researchers analyzed randomized clinical trials on cognitively impaired persons, including mild cognitive impairment, memory impairment, and dementia, to determine the effectiveness of light therapy on behavioral disturbances, sleep quality, and depression. They also performed a subgroup analysis to study the differences in effect size based on the light intensity, frequency of therapy, participant characteristics, and study quality.
After searching various clinical databases for trials and systematic reviews, Chiu and colleagues found nine randomized controlled trials that met study criteria. Assessment of the trials indicated that light therapy had a moderate effect on behavioral disturbances (g = –0.61) and depression (g = –0.58) and a small effect on sleep quality (g = 0.25). The subgroup analysis results showed that a light intensity of 2,500 lux or more was more effective for cognitively impaired persons and had a greater effect on depression than lesser light intensity (P = .03). In terms of behavioral disturbances, the low risk of bias in blinding was greater than the randomized controlled trials considered the high or unclear risk of bias in blinding (P = .02).
“Future research should focus on the relationship between light therapy and dementia, but also on expanding study scope to incorporate individuals with varying degrees of cognitive impairment, including [mild cognitive impairment],” Chiu and colleagues wrote. “By providing practical information on nonpharmacological light therapy and promoting its application, this study is expected to be of value to individuals with cognitive impairment.” — by Savannah Demko.
Brain waves are oscillating electrical voltages in the brain, measuring just a few millionths of a volt. At the root of all our thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are the communication between neurons within our brains. Brainwaves are produced by synchronized electrical pulses from masses of neurons communicating with each other.
Brainwaves are detected using sensors placed on the scalp. They are divided into bandwidths to describe their functions but are the best thought of as a continuous spectrum of consciousness, from slow, loud, and functional — to fast, subtle, and complex.
It is a handy analogy to think of brainwaves as musical notes — the low-frequency waves are like a deeply penetrating drum beat, while the higher frequency brainwaves are more like a subtle high pitched flute. Like a symphony, the higher and lower frequencies link and cohere with each other through harmonics.
Our brainwaves change according to what we’re doing and feeling. When slower brainwaves are dominant, we can feel tired, slow, sluggish, or dreamy. The higher frequencies are dominant when we feel wired or hyper-alert.
The descriptions that follow are only broad descriptions — in practice, things are far more complex, and brainwaves reflect different aspects of different locations in the brain.
Brainwave speed is measured in Hertz (cycles per second), and they are divided into bands delineating slow, moderate, and fast waves.
Infra-Low brainwaves (also known as Slow Cortical Potentials) are thought to be the basic cortical rhythms that underlie our higher brain functions. Very little is known about infra-low brainwaves. Their slow nature makes them difficult to detect and accurately measure, so few studies have been done. They appear to play a major role in brain timing and network function.
Delta (δ) Waves (0.5 TO 4HZ) — Sleep
Delta brainwaves are slow, loud brainwaves (low frequency and deeply penetrating, like a drumbeat). They are generated in deepest meditation and dreamless sleep. Delta waves suspend external awareness and are the source of empathy. Healing and regeneration are stimulated in this state, and that is why deep restorative sleep is so essential to the healing process.
Theta brainwaves occur most often in sleep but are also dominant in deep meditation. Theta is our gateway to learning, memory, and intuition. In theta, our senses are withdrawn from the external world and focused on signals originating from within. Twilight states that we normally only experience fleetingly as we wake or drift off to sleep. In theta, we dream; vivid imagery, intuition, and information beyond our normal conscious awareness. It’s where we hold our ‘stuff,’ our fears, troubled history, and nightmares.
Alpha (α) Waves(8 TO 12 HZ) — Very relaxed, Passive Attention
Alpha brainwaves are dominant during quietly flowing thoughts and in some meditative states. Alpha is ‘the power of now,’ being here, in the present. Alpha is the resting state of the brain. Alpha waves aid overall mental coordination, calmness, alertness, mind/body integration, and learning.
Beta brainwaves dominate our normal waking state of consciousness when attention is directed towards cognitive tasks and the outside world. Beta is a ‘fast’ activity, present when alert, attentive, engaged in problem-solving, judgment, decision making, or focused mental activity.
Beta brainwaves are further divided into three bands; Lo-Beta (Beta1, 12–15Hz) can be thought of as a ‘fast idle’ or musing. Beta (Beta2, 15–22Hz) is the high engagement or actively figuring something out. Hi-Beta (Beta3, 22–38Hz) is a highly complex thought, integrating new experiences, high anxiety, or excitement. Continual high-frequency processing is not a very efficient way to run the brain, as it takes a tremendous amount of energy.
Gamma (γ) Waves(35 TO 42 HZ) — Concentration
Gamma brainwaves are the fastest brain waves (high frequency, like a flute) and relate to the simultaneous processing of information from different brain areas. Gamma brainwaves pass information rapidly and quietly. The most subtle of the brainwave frequencies, the mind has to be quiet to access gamma.
Gamma was dismissed as ‘spare brain noise’ until researchers discovered it was highly active in states of universal love, altruism, and the ‘higher virtues.’ Gamma is also above the frequency of neuronal firing, so how it is generated remains a mystery. It is speculated that gamma rhythms modulate perception and consciousness and that a greater presence of gamma relates to expanded consciousness and spiritual emergence.
New Trial to Test Brain Wave Stimulation as Alzheimer’s Preventative
With a new $1.8 million grant from the Part the Cloud-Gates Partnership Grant Program of the Alzheimer’s Association, researchers at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Massachusetts General Hospital are launching a new clinical trial to test whether stimulating a key frequency of brain waves with light and sound can prevent the advance of Alzheimer’s disease pathology even before volunteers experience symptoms such as memory impairment.
“Because Alzheimer’s disease leads to neurodegeneration and cognitive decline, the best time for intervention may be before those symptoms even begin,” said Dr. Li-Huei Tsai, Picower Professor of Neuroscience and director of The Picower Institute for Learning and Memory at MIT. “We are hopeful that our safe, non-invasive approach of sensory stimulation of 40Hz gamma brain rhythms can have a preventative benefit for patients. We are very grateful to Part the Cloud-Gates Partnership Grant Program for their support in funding rigorous research to test this exciting possibility.”
In extensive testing in Tsai’s lab with multiple mouse models of Alzheimer’s, the light and sound stimulation technique, called Gamma ENtrainment Using Sensory Stimuli (GENUS), improved cognition and memory, prevented neurodegeneration, and reduced amyloid and tau protein buildups. The research showed that increasing 40Hz brain rhythm power and synchrony stimulated the brain’s immune cells and blood vessels to clear out the toxic proteins. Early results from human testing at MIT show that GENUS is well tolerated and increases 40Hz power and synchrony, just like in the mice.
The new study, conducted in collaboration with neurologist Dr. Keith Johnson at MGH, will enroll 50 volunteers aged 55 or older who show signs of amyloid protein plaque buildup in PET scans but remain cognitively normal. Experimental volunteers will receive an hour of GENUS light and sound stimulation in their homes daily for a year. At regular checkups, the team will monitor GENUS's effect on amyloid buildup via PET scans as well as other biomarkers such as tau and for changes in cognition, sleep, structural and functional MRI, and other indicators of brain function and health.
The trial will be double-blinded, randomized, and controlled, meaning that some volunteers will be exposed to non-GENUS light and sound during the trial to provide a non-treatment comparison group. To ensure that bias does not influence the results, neither the volunteers nor the experimenters will know which group's volunteers are.
Dr. Claudia Aguirre which has a Ph.D. in neuroscience from USC and travels the world lecturing on a broad range of topics from neuroscience to skin care has been researching the power of the skin and its connection with the brain.
The skin is highly innervated and intricately connected to the brain and central nervous system, just as other sensory organs are. Dr. Claudia Aguirre is discovering that the skin has a lot of neuro potential, or neuroplasticity, that has gone unrecognized. For example, just as our eyes have receptors that transduce light photons into signals to the brain that we process as vision, we’re discovering that our skin also has light receptors. Although we don’t yet know how they work, we speculate that they might be signaling the brain to make systemic changes that affect the full nervous system. Similarly, olfactory receptors in the hair follicles, just as we do in the nose.
Another example is touch, for which our skin is the primary sense organ. Skin is also our largest organ, which gives us a clue as to how important touch is. Different receptors in the skin can tell us not only whether what we touch is hot or cold, rough or smooth. Skin can even sense the intention behind the touch. A gentle touch feels much different than an aggressive one. We can tell whether the person giving us a massage is paying attention or whether they’re distracted. Moreover, different kinds of touch elicit different biochemical and hormonal responses, which have systemic results. A hug or kiss stimulates the release of oxytocin, the bonding hormone, through the bloodstream, while a punch or shove will release adrenaline and cortisol. All of these capabilities are what we say by the hidden brain in the skin.
The skin is connected to the nervous system; it’s connected to the endocrine system. The skin is impacted by our emotional states and, conversely, our skin can impact how we feel about ourselves. Cultural stress and anxiety can trigger or aggravate many skin conditions—from acne to eczema to herpes, psoriasis, and rosacea. Conversely, a disfiguring skin condition can trigger stress, anxiety, depression, and even suicide. Chronic, generalized anxiety can create chronic inflammation and exacerbate inflammatory skin conditions, such as the ones mentioned previously. Chronic stress can result in chronic anxiety, hypervigilance, poor sleep, and a whole cascade of effects resulting in a constant breakdown of tissues and organs, including the skin. There’s a whole new field of medicine being developed called psychodermatology, which is the study and treatment of the psychological component of skin conditions. Better understanding of the neuropotential of skin also opens the possibility of whole new avenues of treatment with light therapy for many of our chronic conditions.
In Kaiyan Medical we have understood that neuroscience should absolutely be part of the conversation about skincare and beauty because the brain and the skin are intimately connected. Skincare is important not only for the skin, but also the brain. That's why we keep developing light therapy devices for skin and brain. In Kaiyan we always recommend to listen for all the little signs that your skin tells you that you tend to ignore. You get a rash, and you brush it off: “Maybe it’s just dry out. Maybe I need to switch creams.” But if it occurs repeatedly, you need to look more closely and ask, “What could my skin be trying to tell me?” Are you repressing emotions? Is there a relationship issue you’re avoiding? Is there some other life circumstance that’s “gotten under your skin”? The body has a wisdom we should listen to.
Muse is a wearable device in the form of a headband that senses the brain's electrical rhythms (EEG). The headband is coupled with a smartphone app (Calm) that monitors the user’s brain electrical activity and gives immediate feedback to achieve a “calm” or meditative pattern. Over time, the use of this device is thought to help reduce distractibility, improve stress control, and improve mood.
The headband is light and comfortable but requires a bit of experience to fit properly and to transmit reliable signals by BlueTooth to the associated smartphone app. The device will not work with older versions of many smartphones (such as the iPhone 4). The instructions for use are straightforward and easy to follow, and the program is up and running within minutes. Once one gets started, it is straightforward to adjust settings and to personalize the program.
The user is asked to sit quietly with eyes closed and to focus on counting expirations. The app displays one of two pleasant visual backgrounds associated with wind or water sounds. The volume and frequency of these weather sound decrease as the EEG rhythm become the “calm” state. Therefore, one gets immediate and easy to understand feedback as to how one is doing. The sessions can be set to last from 3 minutes to 45 minutes.
Immediately after finishing a session, the app provides a graphical depiction of one’s EEG rhythm, grouped into “calm,” “neutral,” or “active” bands. The app calculates the amount of time spent “calm” and awards points for “calm” time. The points are associated with certain awards and expressions of positive feedback. Besides, the app graphically displays the percentage of time spent “calm” over variations and prescribes several challenges to increase time performance. All times performance of this is lovely and easy to understand and to manipulate.
The company’s website provides a great deal of information regarding frequently asked questions and troubleshooting. When I submitted a question to the company over the website, I received an answer within hours. The app allows one to permit for session data to be aggregated by the company for research purposes. I think it is useful to share personal data because they may ultimately determine how effective the device might be.
The Muse headband is a remarkable technological advance over earlier versions of EEG neurofeedback technologies. Neurofeedback is a technique that has been employed for mental health conditions for more than a decade and formerly required a link between traditional EEG recording devices with desktop or laptop computers. Through operant conditioning, these techniques seek to alter brain functioning by giving live feedback about EEG rhythms to the patient. Patients are rewarded if they can achieve certain EEG rhythm characteristics, such as decreased theta activity (4–7 cycles per second) or an increase in alpha activity (12–15 cycles per second). A higher proportion of alpha wave activity is thought to be associated with focused attention and a feeling of calm or well-being.
Traditional neurofeedback techniques have never been fully tested in psychiatric conditions for several reasons. First, these techniques are not protected by exclusive intellectual property, so industrial funding for large-scale trials has not been available. Similarly, devices designed to deliver neurofeedback have not been seen as unique medical devices by the FDA, which could be protected by patents. Furthermore, there is some disagreement about which pattern of EEG rhythms would be most therapeutic for particular groups of patients. I was not able to locate references to clinical trials using Muse technology specifically. Although not formally approved for clinical use by the FDA, many clinics currently offer neurofeedback treatments. However, widespread clinical adoption of neurofeedback has not occurred due to concerns about cost relative to the uncertainties about efficacy. Most protocols recommended that individuals come to a supervised clinical setting for multiple sessions per week over several months. This is a time consuming and expensive endeavor which, due to lack of published scientific data on efficacy, is not reimbursed by insurance companies. With the Muse technology, EEG neurofeedback has entered the world of self-directed activity using a wearable device coupled with a smartphone app. Therefore, the cost is much reduced, and it becomes feasible to decide individually whether the techniques are a worthwhile investment of time.
The Muse headband costs $299, and the app is free. This appears to be a very reasonable cost, given the complexity of the technology and the amount of information obtained with its use.
Margaret Jarrett was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease eight years ago. And although she was bothered by many of the symptoms that commonly afflict people living with Parkinson’s — resting tremor, uncertain gait, and terrible nightmares — the thing that bothered her the most was the loss of her sense of smell. An avid gardener, she took great pride in her roses but being unable to inhale their perfumed scent really got her down.
“You take something like your sense of smell for granted,” Jarrett, 72, said. “You don’t realize how precious something is until it’s gone.”
Parkinson’s disease combines movement disorders, including resting tremors, muscle rigidity, impaired balance, and movement slowness. It can also cause neurological problems such as depression, insomnia, memory loss, and confusion.
Its cause is unknown, but it is associated with dopamine depletion and destruction of neurons in the brain's basal ganglia region.
The current mainstay of treatment for Parkinson’s disease involves physical therapy and medications that act to increase dopamine levels in the brain. One relatively new therapy for Parkinson’s is exposure to infrared light.
Dr. Ann Liebert, co-ordinator of photomolecular research at the Australasian Research Institute, has been exploring the idea of using infrared light to modulate the gastrointestinal tract’s microbiome in humans.
The gut’s microbiome — composing trillions of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa from hundreds of different species that normally inhabit our gastrointestinal tract — has come under increasing scientific attention over the past decade, with links being established between the microbiome and several conditions including obesity, type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and depression. Several studies have also observed that the gut microbiome is markedly altered in patients with Parkinson’s disease. Fecal microbiota transplantation can have a protective effect in animal models of Parkinson’s.
The reason for this is unknown. However, an interesting observation is that another common pathology seen in Parkinson’s disease is the accumulation of misfolded proteins, called Lewy bodies, in the brain. It has been shown that certain sensory cells of the gut contain these same proteins.
Researchers have hypothesized that abnormal forms of the protein could travel from the gut to the brain through the vagus nerve, a phenomenon observed in animal models of Parkinson’s. Further support for this theory comes from findings that people who have had a surgical vagotomy — where branches of the nerve are cut — have a lower lifetime risk of developing Parkinson’s.
“We know that infrared light can reduce Parkinson’s symptoms and offer protection to brain cells. So, we wanted to test if it could modulate the gut’s microbiome as well,” Liebert said.
Provisional results from the first half dozen Adelaide participants, including Margaret Jarrett, have been promising.
“The six patients . . . showed an increase by up to 20 percent in the favorable microbiome that is associated with obesity reduction and short-chain fatty acid production. And the bacteria associated with rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease and insulin resistance were all decreased,” said Hosen Kiat, a professor of cardiology at Macquarie University, who oversaw the trial.
“For the last three years, I haven’t been able to smell flowers,” Jarrett said. “But several weeks into the trial, I started to smell my roses, daphnes, and gardenias again, and it was wonderful.”
Another participant, Barry Weldon, 70, had a similar experience. “My sense of smell improved significantly,” he said. “One day, I walked into the house, and for the first time in a long time, I could actually smell the soup my wife was cooking.”
Ron Till, 68, had an even more dramatic improvement. “The trial gave me the ability to sleep again,” he said. “It was amazing.”
Till’s neurologist cautioned him not to get his hopes up before the trial but changed his mind when he saw the results. “He told me it was voodoo medicine and probably wouldn’t work,” Till recalled. “But after the trial, I went back for my three-monthly assessment with him, and he said to me, ‘You’re actually testing better than when you first started with me ten years ago.’”
Retired geologist Sean Kennedy, 76, also experienced an improvement in his coordination and balance. “My juggling skills have improved,” he said.
In a review published in Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, Liebert and her co-authors acknowledge that while the exact mechanism by which light therapy alters the microbiome is unknown, there is definite potential in light therapy.
“The ability of PBM [light therapy] to influence the microbiome (if proven to apply to humans) will allow an additional therapeutic route to target multiple diseases, including cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease, many of which have thus far eluded effective treatment approaches,” the paper concludes.
Kiat is excited by light therapy’s potential. “If we can create non-invasively a metabolically healthier microbiome through this extremely cheap and easy way, then inflammatory diseases and neurodegenerative diseases should be positively influenced,” he said.
Gold Coast-based GP Mark Jeffery is a clinician who has been using lasers in his practice for more than four years. He says the research supports the use of light therapy for a wide range of diseases, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression, and chronic pain.
“The reality is there are no real side effects from low-level laser therapy, and it’s one of the safest treatments you can ever do,” he says.
Liebert says the promising results they have seen thus far will inform a large, double-blinded randomized control trial planned for this year. “It has the potential to apply to huge fields of medicine,” she said.
Weldon’s neurologist, Chris Kneebone, is keeping an open mind on infrared light therapy’s potential. “We all just have to wait and see what the trial results tell us,” he said.
His advice for people who wish to give it a try for their Parkinson’s? “If you want to give it a go, give it a go,” he said. “I’ve got no reason not to recommend it, but at this stage, I’ve got no reason to think it is helpful either.”
As for Jarrett, she has no doubts that infrared light therapy has helped her. She enjoys pottering around in her garden again and has more energy than she has had for a long time.
“I feel like I could take on the world again,” she said. “My garden has never looked better.”
Most of us weren’t particularly familiar with Parkinson's disease until Hollywood actor Michael J. Fox publicly disclosed his own Parkinson's diagnosis. And even as awareness surrounding the disease has increased, it’s safe to say there’s still a lot of mystery around Parkinson’s.
So, what is Parkinson's disease? Essentially, it is a brain disorder that results in shaking, stiffness, difficulty with balance, coordination, and walking. These symptoms gradually become worse over time as the disease progresses. Many people with Parkinson's disease may also exhibit mental and behavioral changes—depression, sleep disorders, memory issues, and fatigue.
Most people with Parkinson's disease develop it around 60-years-old, with early-onset symptoms showing around the age of 50. There are five stages to Parkinson’s disease:
Stage one: Mild symptoms that do not interfere with day-to-day activities.
Stage two: Symptoms increase, including tremors and rigidity.
Stage three: This is mid-stage. Loss of balance, slowness in movements. It impairs daily activities.
Stage four: Severe symptoms and physical limitations. Individuals may not stand without help and require a walker. They're unable to live alone.
Stage five: May not be able to walk. They require a wheelchair or are bedridden. They require 24-hour care.
As you can see, this disease is not only difficult for the one who has it, but also for the people around them. Naturally, no one wants to see their loved one slowly decline. This not only is emotionally traumatizing to the patient, but adds increased stress to the individual and family.
Though there is no cure for Parkinson's disease currently, there are treatments available to relieve and reduce the symptoms. Most treatments are either physical therapy or medication. But one non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical treatment patients can undergo is red light therapy—and the results are quite astounding.
Trials of red light therapy on Parkinson's patients are showing promising results. Back in 2020, a first-of-its-kind trial launched in France. With a fiber optic cable implanted in their brain, seven patients delivered pulses of red light into the region of the brain that degenerates during Parkinson's disease. What was found was that while the disease was not cured, the therapy reduced and slowed down the neurodegenerative process.
It was discovered that when the light penetrates the skin, the light works on a cellular level. With light, it increases ATP (adenosine triphosphate) production. Once there’s ATP stimulation, the cells have more energy and can resist various stresses, which slows down the degenerative process for Parkinson’s patients. This study is still in effect as they continue to test the results.
Another trial is starting this summer for at-home use for Parkinson's patients. The company, PhotoPharmic, is focusing on reaching underserved patients in remote areas of the United States. Their trial will recruit 200 patients, 45 years of age and older, to test the device. With the combination of light, they aim to help regulate the circadian rhythm as this is the main problem for Parkinson's patients. If the device proves effective, this is a major step forward for the 10 million people who have Parkinson's worldwide.
These trials are a long time coming. As we already know the advantages of light therapy, the medical community is coming on board to research and discover its health benefits.
Luckily, Parkinson’s patients don’t need to wait for these devices to be produced and released to the public—they already exist. Aside from regular physical therapy, many Parkinson’s patients prefer non-pharmaceutical treatment.
Losing our memory is something we all fear of. Alzheimer's disease is a very difficult, and the most common form of dementia. This general term refers to the loss of memory and other intellectual skills so severe that it interferes with daily life. Alzheimer's disease accounts for 50-80% of dementia cases.
Alzheimer's is a neurological disorder believed to have genetic components. It's thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of proteins in and around brain cells; and Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age, as it was once widely believed to be. Up to 5% of people suffering from this disease have an early onset of Alzheimer's disease (also known as "early-onset"), which often appears when a person is between forty and fifty years old.
It is a life-altering disease and can be extremely challenging. It's not something that affects only the patient; it is a disease that alters the lives of those around you, as well.
The life expectancy after diagnosis is typically eight to ten years. Of course, this varies; a person can live up to 20 years post-diagnosis. Sometimes people don't get diagnosed for a few years, thus leading them to have less time.
When Alzheimer's disease strikes, it initially presents symptoms that may be so mild that they go unnoticed by both the patient and his family; however, as the disease progresses, these symptoms become more evident and begin to interfere with daily activities and relationships.
The main symptoms are significant memory loss, difficulties in producing and understanding language, inability to recognize people, objects, or places, decoding external stimuli, and difficulty performing simple voluntary movements, such as using objects. As the disease progresses, psychiatric symptoms often occur, such as depression, anxiety, apathy, irritability, and even aggression.
A person with Alzheimer's needs a safe place and environment. Things must be kept simple, and their life significantly changes. You can't really expect a person suffering from this disorder to be the same. Their personality and behavioral changes are entirely normal.
The list of light therapy uses and benefits goes on and on, as it is a form of treatment that can help with many health issues and disorders. However, for people with Alzheimer's, it can have a powerful effect on their experience.
Red light therapy is a form of therapy that works simply by producing light. There are many different devices, lightboxes, masks, and lamps that are used. The ultraviolet rays you receive in a light therapy session are the ones who directly target at the cellular level. Once the cells are penetrated by light, they accelerate at their reproductive level, increasing ATP production. ATP is the powerhouse of the mitochondria, essential for our system to function optimally.
A review of red light therapy is something we can all benefit from. There are no downsides to red light therapy, as it is a non-invasive and non-pharmaceutical procedure.
Light therapy focuses on the cellular level. MRI imaging uncovered a 61% reduction in whole-brain atrophy and losses of volume in areas associated with Alzheimer's from red light therapy treatments. It works by rejuvenating the cells, creating new ones at a higher rate. Our organism benefits from cellular alteration because of the production of new cells. This means they're not only fresh cells, but they're stronger than before.
Light therapy masks help suppress Beta-amyloid (Aβ) build-up, the protein that forms senile plaques in the brains of people with Alzheimer's and dementia. So it's focusing on getting rid of the root of the problem. With a reduced build-up, our brain cells return to their natural state, the protein having been successfully eradicated.
Kaiyan specializes in light therapy devices that are MDASAP-certified and FDA-approved, making our product easy and accessible, perfect for at-home treatments – even for some of the most challenging diseases and health conditions. Contact our team for more information.
Alzheimer’s is a very complex disease, and one that is still undergoing significant research – there’s still a lot we still don’t understand about how and why this disease happens.
We know that Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease that starts slowly and progressively worsens in most cases, and the actual memory loss and cognitive issues experienced we refer to as dementia; Alzheimer's is the physical disease that causes dementia to develop. When a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer's, the connections between their nerve cells within the brain are damaged and eventually entirely lost.
What causes the connections between the nerves to disappear is protein. Protein builds up with patients with Alzheimer's, specifically within the brain, which then causes abnormal structures we call "plaques" and "tangles." The lost connection inevitably leads to the complete death of the nerve cell, leading to lost brain tissue.
But, in recent years, studies have shown that there could be a way to improve and lessen the symptoms of dementia caused by Alzheimer’s. And it starts with light therapy.
You may have heard about light therapy, but didn’t think much of it with respect to degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s. Well, think again. Light therapy is a non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical treatment for the body and mind. It targets the pathology at the cellular level, contributing to ATP stimulation and increasing and improving cell reproduction. Essentially, it can help with providing better and stronger cells to the body, thus resulting in a stronger organism and overall improved health.
Research suggests that exposure to a light flickering at 40 Hz may promote gamma-wave brain activity, which could potentially activate cells in the brain to eliminate the plaques that are common in Alzheimer's disease. They are called beta-amyloid plaques, ones that exist due to the protein build-up.
There has been testing surrounding the development of a light-sensitive molecule called a photo-oxygenation catalyst that's injected into live mice with Alzheimer's disease. Researchers have shown that while the catalyst remains mostly inactive as it rests in the cells, it activates when hit with near-infrared light. This light therapy treatment has been used by researchers on mice brains for 30 minutes each day for one week, and significant reductions have been observed in the amyloid proteins. According to the study, they successfully disrupted the amyloid structures by changing the chemical bonds holding them together.
Now that the protein has been disrupted, after destabilizing the plaque, the body’s immune system takes over and clears away the damaged cells. The researchers saw a phase occurring in mouse cells growing in a dish. The brain’s immune system enveloped the oxygenated amyloids and broke them down in acidic compartments.
Another recent investigation featured in Neuron shows that boosting gamma oscillations can improve the connection between nerve cells, reduce inflammation, and preserve against cell death in mouse models of Alzheimer’s. It also shows that the treatment's far-reaching effects involve nerve cells, or neurons, and a type of immune cell called microglia.
The researchers also examined gene changes in the treated and untreated mice. They found that the nerve cells of untreated mice had reduced activity in genes that repair DNA and in those that help operate the connections between nerve cells. The treated mice, on the other hand, showed greater activity in these genes. The treated mice had also been seen making more connections between nerve cells, and that these connections operated more coherently.
Through technological advancement, light therapy is making tremendous leaps forward in helping people with Alzheimer’s. To learn more about the benefits of light therapy on other degenerative diseases, head to our blog. If you’re interested in learning more about the power of light therapy in your own life or for your business, please reach out to our team – we look forward to connecting.