Red Light Therapy – Uses for Health:
Infrared light therapy for the prevention of symptoms of Alzheimers?
Alzheimer's disease is a devastating condition. Both for the sufferer and for the family and friends that are left behind.
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia (a general term for memory loss and a decline in other cognitive abilities) serious enough that it causes problems with memory, thinking and behaviour. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. It is the most common form of dementia.
Alzheimer's is not a normal part of aging. The greatest known risk factor is increasing age and the majority of people with Alzheimer's are 65 and older however Alzheimer's is not just a disease of old age. It is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer's, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment. Alzheimer's is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.
In the UK the numbers are shocking. There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year – that’s one every three minutes.
There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.
In Alzheimer’s, there are changes in the brain beyond those associated with normal ageing. Among the most prominent are the build-up of two proteins, called amyloid-beta and tau. Research suggests that both of these are involved in the disease process, and is revealing more about the sequence of events. As the disease progresses, more and more nerve cells in the brain become damaged. This damage leads to the symptoms of Alzheimer’s
A study suggests that there may be reason to believe that infrared light therapy directed on to the head may lead to a decrease in the symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease. The details of a study from a US University in Scientific Reports (an online journal published by Nature Research) shows a significant reduction in the harmful effects in the brain related to Alzheimers after a period of treatment with infrared light on the heads of mice. Researchers at the university found that a certain type of protein can become toxic at the point of connection between brain cells where information gets passed along. This break down between brain cells is known to be a sign of the onset of the disease. Infrared light has been shown to reduce the occurrence of this protein which suggests that infrared light can be used therapeutically to treat the disease.
Infrared induced neuro-protections are not entirely clear, although they appear to operate on at least two different biological levels.
First, infrared acts at a cellular level, activating intracellular cascades that ultimately contribute to the survival of the target, and possibly neighbouring cells and/or stimulating neurogenesis (formation of new neurons).
Secondly, infrared light appears capable of triggering systemic protective mechanisms; this presumably involves as yet unidentified circulating cellular or humoral factors that can transduce protective effects to the brain.
In short, what is being suggested is that infrared light is a low-level stressor of cells which leads to an increase in ATP production (cellular energy) and a burst in low levels of reactive oxygen species (free radicals). The latter process can be likened to that of a vaccine, introducing a small amount of an illness in order to stimulate improved immunity by the body. This modulation of multiple molecular systems appears capable of both conditioning neurons to resist future damage and accelerating repair of neurons damaged by a previous or continuing insult.
Infrared light therapy has the potential to develop into a safe and effective neuroprotective treatment for patients with Alzheimer's disease (and presumably other neurodegenerative diseases such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). Consequently, over time, the greater neuronal survival would lessen the clinical signs and symptoms. Further, infrared light therapy—because of its lack of side-effects and neuroprotective potential—is amenable to use in conjunction with other treatments.
There is much to do in further developing this treatment, but the therapeutic possibilities are many and the potential outcomes are very exciting. We await the outcomes of major clinical trials using infrared light therapy on these patients with much anticipation.
Red Light for Hair Loss
Good news for the men (and women) out there who may be experiencing baldness or thinning of the hair.
There are studies that purport that treatment with red light therapy can encourage better regrowth of hair. These studies used both men and women who showed symptoms of hair thinning to a various degree). They shaved a small spot of hair on their heads and then took photos of these shave spots and the various stages throughout the treatments. Some of the subjects were treated with the real devices while others were treated with a 'fake' red light device (a placebo) that was a plain red coloured light device.
How Red Light Therapy works for hair growth:
· Red Light Therapy causes a number of reactions within the cells mitochondria which leads to increased ATP production (cellular energy) and with this increase in energy comes the increase in function of the hair follicles and associated cells.
· Red Light Therapy prolongs the growing phase and can even re-establish the growing phase, even after the hair follicle itself has entered into the resting stage, which in turn cause the shedding phase to be pushed back further.
Your hair grows for a longer period of time before being shed, which is a natural part of the process, allowing new hair to grow back. The conclusion of the tests found that the subjects in the experiments, the ones that got treated with the actual red light device (and not the placebo) showed a significant increase in hair regrowth speed as well as an increase in hair count over the treated area! Improvement is reported after 12 to 26 weeks of use, with reduced hair fall and noticeable hair growth.
It should also be noted, that as of writing this, no ill side effects were reported, nor have any been reported in any experiments with red and infrared light therapy!