A team of researchers from Denver-based Neuro-Laser Foundation (NLF) suggest in their new study that only high-powered near-infrared (NIR) light has the potential to reach the brain and accelerate regeneration of brain cells damaged by traumatic brain injury (TBI).

The study, conducted and co-authored by NLF co-founders Theodore Henderson, MD, PhD, and Larry Morries, DC, was published recently in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment, according to a media release from the Neuro-Laser Foundation.

Per the release, the study compared the penetration levels of low-power NIR, such as that from light-emitting diodes (LED), with high-power NIR on skin, bone, tissue, and brain.

At the study’s conclusion, the team found that low-power infrared light in the milliwatt range does not penetrate a full-thickness section of human skin (2 mm), nor does it deliver any significant infrared energy to a depth of 3 cm into the brain, the release explains.

Also, according to the release, the team found that high-power infrared light achieved at least 3 cm penetration into the brain. This included wavelengths of 980 and 808 nm with 9 to 13 watts average power; a “pulsed” application of near-infrared light might be more effective than continuous wave light; and no thermal skin irritation occurred, and skin temperature change was negligible.

In addition, per the release, the team found that the existing medical assumptions about the penetration of NIR underlying current medical applications are faulty.

“Our data show that LED and low-level NIR offer at best transient benefit, and often do not even penetrate through the skin,” Henderson says in the release, adding that the data shows that no significant amount of light gets to the areas needing to be treated.

In the release, Henderson cautions patients about claims that there could be benefits from treatment using NIR at the milliwatt level.

“Other groups and our current work have shown that NIR can improve TBI, but only if it is delivered with sufficient energy to the brain,” he explains.

“After we identify the damaged location, we can apply our NIR method directly to the area and give new life to previously dormant brain cells,” he continues. “It’s a breakthrough, and will provide a much-needed relief for all those struggling for answers to TBI.”

[Source(s): Neuro-Laser Foundation, PR Newswire]