Mar 19, 2011

Light Therapy for Alzheimer's Patients?

By Max Wallack
Alzheimer's Reading Room


In a recent article in the Journal of Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, lead investigator Dr. Margaret Naeser of the Boston University School of Medicine studied the effects of LED’s applied to the forehead and scalp areas of two patients with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Previous benefits of LED treatments had been reported in people with acute strokes.

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Dr. Naeser’s first patient was a woman who had TBI from a motor vehicle accident 7 years earlier. Before her treatment with LED’s, she could only sustain attention for 20 minutes of computer work. After 8 treatments, her attention increased to 3 hours. To date, she has been performing LED nightly treatments on herself for 5 years. If she stops treating for more than 2 weeks, her attention span diminishes.

Dr. Naeser’s other patient had TBI from sports and military work, as well as a fall. As a result, she had frontoparietal brain atrophy. She had been on medical disability for 5 months. After 4 months of nightly LED treatments, she was able to return to work as a full time executive. Her neuropsychological testing after 9 months of LED treatments showed significant improvement in several areas, including memory.

Dr. Naeser’s explains that phototherapy delivers red and near-infrared light energy to improve cellular metabolism which offers physiological benefits.

Dr. Naeser’s conclusion is:
“Transcranial LED may improve cognition, reduce costs in TBI treatment, and be applied to home. Controlled studies are warranted.”
The complete article can be read here.

It sounds like various kinds of exposure to light energy can be very helpful, and this new theory of the benefits of LED therapy should be investigated as an aid for Alzheimer’s and dementia patients, as well.

Max Wallack is a student at Boston University Academy. His great grandmother, Gertrude, suffered from Alzheimer's disease. Max is the founder of PUZZLES TO REMEMBER. PTR is a project that provides puzzles to nursing homes and veterans institutions that care for Alzheimer's and dementia patients.

Original content Max Wallack, the Alzheimer's Reading Room