Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a major cause of death and disability worldwide, affecting all demographics from youth to seniors. Despite its prevalence, there have been very few clinical trials that have yielded an effective treatment. One neurorehabilitative treatment that has started to gain attention is low-level laser therapy (LLLT), with a few cases of people with TBI making a partial recovery following LLLT treatment.
One area of growing interest for treatment of TBI is low-level laser therapy (LLLT), the use of a near-infrared light to non-invasively activate cells within the brain to self-recover. LLLT has been used in the past primarily for physical rehabilitation and wound healing, but recent research has found that it might be beneficial for TBI patients. LLLT, also commonly known as photobiomodulation or biostimulation, uses a light between 632-1064 nm (red to infrared spectrum) that triggers a biological response in the cells of the brain. This typically results in activation of the mitochondria, stimulating production of energy, but also has been shown to upregulate neurogenesis, inhibit apoptosis (the death of cells) and activate signalling pathways. These all work in conjunction with the brain’s natural response to accelerate TBI recovery; some patients who had TBI reported improved cognition, increased attention and the ability to return to work after undergoing daily LLLT for several months.
TBI remains a significant health crisis, but new research and novel treatments are constantly being tested and improved. After rigorous testing, clinical trials and fine tuning along the way, there may be a standard treatment for TBI available not too far in the future.
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