What is Photobiomodulation (PBM)
PBM therapy is a safe, non-invasive, painless, non-thermal modality based on a strong body of research dating back to the 1960’s (21). Light-emitting diode (LED) or low-level laser/light therapy (LLLT) aka Cold Laser Therapy (CLT), uses either visible red laser/light (600–700nm) or near-infrared (NIR) wavelengths of laser/light (usually 808, 810, 830, up to 1,100 nm) to repair damaged or dying cells and tissue (22–24).
Detailed Cellular Effects of PBM
PBM has produced beneficial cellular effects in controlled trials (25). Red/NIR wavelength photons are absorbed within the mitochondrial membrane by the last complex (IV) of the electron transport chain, cytochrome C oxidase (CCO), particularly in hypoxic/stressed cells (26). This promotes increased adenosine tri-phosphate (ATP) production (24, 27) and increased local vasodilation due to release of nitric oxide from CCO. Along with improved mitochondrial and cellular function (23, 24, 28), reduced oxidative damage and reduced inflammation have been reported (29).
Approximately 3% of NIR LLLT photons applied to the head have been observed to penetrate through skin, scalp, bone and dura mater in human cadavers, enough to reach surface brain cortex (30). NIR (808 nm) photons from laser PBM have been detected at 4–5 cm beneath the site of scalp application (31). PBM to the ear canals has been observed to penetrate to the base of
An estimated 25–30% of 700,000 veterans deployed to the Kuwait Theater, 1990-91, have developed a persistent multi- symptom illness related to neurotoxicant exposures (1, 2). To date, treatments developed for Gulf War Illness (GWI) have been insufficient. Interventions addressing underlying pathologies are needed. Photobiomodulation (PBM) is a plausible therapy to address GWI symptoms. PBM consisting of red and near- infrared (NIR) wavelengths of light may impart beneficial effects on mitochondrial and cellular function, immune function, and inflammation, all of which are affected in GWI.
AVANT LZ30 Lasers - The Best Therapeutic PBM Cold Laser in a combination of both high powered Red & NIR Wavelengths, plus hundreds of Hz frequency settings, with high dose clinical power to produce significant healing and pain relief results. Cordless, portable, powerful lasers with hands free tripod option and two optional acupoint and auricular point therapy tips.
Gulf War Illness
Gulf War veterans have presented with Chronic Multi-symptom Illness which includes one or more chronic symptoms (lasting >6 months) from at least two of three symptom categories: (1) musculoskeletal (muscle or joint pain, stiffness); (2) mood-cognition; (3) fatigue. Headaches and/or gastro-intestinal problems may also be present (1, 3). Symptoms have been found to worsen over time, consistent with chronic inflammation (2, 4). GWI veterans’ symptoms are heterogeneous. However, the persistent presence of impairments can have profound negative effects on veterans’ daily functioning.
Positive results from application of transcranial PBM (tPBM) have been observed in animal models of traumatic brain injury (TBI) (34, 35); neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) (36–39) and Parkinson’s Disease (40–42).
Brain Imaging and Transcranial PBM in
Application of transcranial light-emitting diodes (tLED) in humans has been shown to increase regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) in normals (43, 44), in depression (45), severe TBI (46), and chronic mild-moderate TBI (47). Cognitive/behavioral improvements have been reported in chronic TBI (47–52), severe depression (45), acute and chronic stroke (53–55), and dementia (56, 57).
Improved functional connectivity on resting-state functional- connectivity MRI scans (rs-fcMRI) has been observed within intrinsic neural networks, including the default mode network (DMN), following tLED treatments in various patient populations. Chao (57) observed increased functional connectivity within the three posterior nodes of the DMN in
chronic dementia patients, along with significant improvements in cognition. The dementia patients were treated at home, using a NIR LED device designed to treat only the cortical node areas of the DMN. Case studies have shown improved functional connectivity in the DMN in chronic stroke/aphasia, along with improved language following a series of tLED treatments (55); likewise, improved cognition and functional connectivity in athletes with repetitive head impacts who may develop chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) – e.g., pro-football (51, 58), and ice hockey (59).
Increased functional connectivity has been observed within 1 min during NIR laser application (1 cm diameter, 808 nm, 250 mW, 318 mW/cm2) to the right forehead/frontal pole in adults (ages 18–40) (60). Immediate EEG changes have also been shown in healthy adults (ages 61–74) after one, 20-min tLED treatment applied only to cortical node areas of the DMN (61).
Intranasal delivery of PBM also may have beneficial effects. NIR intranasal LED (pulsed at 10Hz) is hypothesized to deliver photons to the olfactory bulbs (on orbito-frontal cortex), where olfactory inputs activate medial entorhinal cortex via the hippocampus (62). In a small study, five dementia patients who used a NIR intranasal, pulsed at 10 Hz, daily for 12 weeks (with once weekly, headframe NIR tLED treatments to nodes of the DMN), improved significantly in cognition (56). Four dementia patients using NIR intranasal plus tLED at home, three times per week for 12 weeks, also observed cognitive improvement (57).
For folks who can not afford a clinical quality cold laser, there is a new kind of High Power Red & NIR LED system called LZR UltraBright Health Scanner for PBM, which hands down outperforms all other LED therapy devices on the market for rapid pain relief, reduction of inflammation and increasing blood circulation. From 10 to 12.5 Watts of Red/NIR LED Light Therapy with the LZR UltraBright produce measurable results in just 60 seconds and over a large surface area of 3"x5". This is new technology only made available since 2020.
If you are looking for a personal use or home use Red and Infrared Laser/Light Therapy device, view a generous selection of light therapy products online here.