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Light Therapy Poses as a Healing Aid for Brain Injuries

Light Therapy Poses as a Healing Aid for Brain Injuries

United States: According to a recent study, giving individuals who have had a severe concussion pulse of near-infrared light appears to speed up their recovery process and this really seems beneficial as the study suggests.

Enhanced Brain Connectivity in Light-Treated Patients

Researchers reveal that there was a higher alteration in connection between seven different pairings of brain areas in patients who wore a helmet generating near-infrared light.

According to co-lead researcher Dr. Rajiv Gupta, a radiologist at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital, “the skull is quite transparent to near-infrared light.” “Once you put on the helmet, this light fills your entire brain.”

Mechanisms Under Investigation

For the study, 17 patients with head injuries severe enough to impair their cognitive function or show up on a brain scan underwent testing of near-infrared light therapy.

Within 72 hours of suffering a traumatic brain injury, patients would put on the light therapy helmet, and researchers would monitor the patients’ progress using brain scans. Twenty-one other patients wore the helmet but did not get light treatment.

The brain’s resting-state function connectivity, or the communication that takes place between brain regions while an individual is not performing a particular activity, was the main focus of the study.

Short-Term Boost, Long-Term Impact Uncertain

Brain scans were obtained by researchers one week, two to three weeks, and three months following the damage.

Researchers Nathaniel Mercaldo, a statistician with Massachusetts General Hospital, found that “there was increased connectivity in those receiving light treatment, primarily within the first two weeks.”

In a hospital news release, Mercaldo stated, “We were unable to detect differences in connectivity between the two treatment groups long-term, so although the treatment appears to increase brain connectivity initially, its long-term effects are still to be determined.”

The journal Radiology published the new study on May 28.

Broad Implications for Neurological Disorders

The precise reason why near-infrared light may hasten brain recovery is unknown, according to researchers.

According to Gupta, light treatment may increase the energy that brain cells produce, facilitate greater blood flow throughout the brain, or lessen inflammation brought on by the lesion.

The precise physiological mechanism underlying these improvements still has to be thoroughly understood, according to researcher Suk-tak Chan, a biomedical engineer at Massachusetts General Hospital.

More light therapy studies with larger patient groups and longer durations are anticipated, according to researchers.

According to Gupta, light therapy may be used to treat a wide range of different neurological conditions if these findings are confirmed.

“This intervention may have a role in psychiatry, as there are numerous disorders of connectivity,” Gupta stated. “Light therapy shows promise in treating PTSD, depression, and autism.”

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