LED brain imageThe BART Foundation’s mission is to promote better outcomes for brain injury survivors by answering three questions – which alternative therapies are likely to work, where can they be found, and how can they be afforded? One of the ways we fulfill our mission is by carefully watching global research and clinical trial outcomes and sharing that information, in user-friendly language, with the TBI/ABI community.

For some time, we have advocated for the use of LED Light Therapy/Photobiomodulation as a therapy that can help some with TBI/ABI achieve healing. Like HBOT, there are already some FDA-approved applications, but these do not include TBI/ABI. Currently, there are dozens of organizations devoted to the study of light therapies and low-level laser therapy worldwide including the North American Association of Laser Therapy, the International Academy of Laser Medicine and Surgery, and the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery.  Some of the notable journals covering this field include Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, and Lasers in Medical Science and Physiotherapy Practice and Research.

For those in the TBI/ABI community following this promising treatment modality, we’d like to share a research article published in the academic journal, Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery (2019). Titled, “Pulsed Transcranial Red/Near-Infrared Light Therapy Using Light-Emitting Diodes Improves Cerebral Blood Flow and Cognitive Function in Veterans with Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Series” this investigation explored the outcome of applying red/near-infrared light therapy using light-emitting diodes (LEDs) pulsed with three different frequencies transcranially to treat TBI in Veterans. Twelve symptomatic military Veterans diagnosed with chronic TBI >18 months post-trauma received pulsed transcranial PBMT three times per week over 6 weeks. Outcome measures included standardized neuropsychological test scores and qualitative and quantitative single-photon emission computed tomography measures of regional cerebral blood flow.

The results showed that pulsed PBMT significantly improved neuropsychological scores in 6 of 15 subscales and cerebral blood flow increased in 8 of 12 study participants. The researchers indicated the outcomes show promise for improving cognitive function in those who are several years after incurring the TBI. As this study involved a small sample, larger, controlled studies are indicated.

Visit the Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery website to access the original article.