Infrared Laser Treatment of TBI, PTSD, and Depression: An Expert Perspective

by Theodore Henderson, MD, PhD

Disclosure: Dr Henderson is the president and principal owner of The Synaptic Space, a neuroimaging consulting firm, and owner of Neuro-Luminance Corporation. Please see the listed studies for a full list of disclosures.

During the last 20 years, a large body of research has accumulated on the beneficial effects of infrared light in the range of 600 to 1000 nm. Infrared light can activate mitochondria, which in turn stimulate second messenger systems, DNA transcription, and growth factors.1,2 As a result, new synapses are formed, circuits regrow, and pluripotent stem cells differentiate into neurons.

Animal studies have shown that infrared photobiomodulation (PBM) may reduce the size and severity of brain injury and stroke, as well as diminish damage and physiological symptoms in depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease.1,3-6 Michael Hamblin, PhD, from the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, a leader in the field, describes PBM as “the use of red or near-infrared light to stimulate, heal, regenerate, and protect tissue that has either been injured, is degenerating, or else is at risk of dying.”

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