Recently, I have been doing a lot of research and studying on the brain. During my research I was exposed to the use of Low Level Light Therapy for cognitive enhancement. Since in our practice we are supporting patients with early signs of dementia, concussions and traumatic brain injury, I was extremely pleased and overwhelmed by the amount of studies conducted on LLLT discussing its impact on the cells and the mitochondria.
In our office we have and utilized 3 different types of LLLT , dependent upon the area we are treating.
Laser therapy is effective because it exposes injured tissue to a coherent light at specific wavelengths that has been proven through research to be effective in pain relief as well as cognition in the brain. The best part is it stimulates the bodies ability to heal itself through photo biomodulation without any side effects. There have been more that 3000 published studies displaying the effectiveness of low level laser therapy.
I have been using Cold Laser in my office for approximately 10 years now. I have without a doubt found it the most effective therapy modality for the treatment of sports injuries such as tennis elbow, plantar fasciitis, knee pain and shoulder pain.
The term “cold” laser is used instead of Low Level Light Therapy, because the photons from the laser do not generate heat. Therefore it can not damage tissue or cause sensation of heat.
There are two other great benefits besides the fact that it is extremely effective. First as we just mentioned it is non- toxic, it does not interact with medications and create side effects. Second it is non-invasive.
How Does Laser Therapy Work For Cognitive Therapy
There have been studies that conclude its impact on increasing BDNF, Brain Derived Neurotropic Factor. BDNF has been proven to reconnect neurons. So with neuroplasticity our main objective is to reconnect neurons that are degenerating and improve communication.
It has also been proven to increase Nerve Growth Factor and Stem Cells.
Our body has built in mechanisms that deal with free radicals and the formation of protein misfolding which occurs in some neurodegenerative diseases. This degeneration can occur for many reasons but some of the most common are inflammation, lack of oxygen, decrease in circulation, increase in blood sugar (insulin resistance or diabetes), and too much ROS (Reactive Oxygen Species)
Studies on LLLT have shown to
- Decrease inflammation
- Increase Anti-oxidant, which are protection against free radicals or ROS.
- Improve Vascular Endothelial Growth , VEGF. When the brain is hypoxic or has too little oxygen it compensates by releasing more VEGF
- Increases ATP, this is cell energy
- Increases Mitochondria
- Increases Blood Flow and Circulation
- Has been shown to reduce amyloid plaques in vitro, the plaque responsible for Alzheimer’s
Low Level Therapy Combined With Proper Exercise and Support
When LLLT is coupled with proper exercise of the joint or brain based therapies to improve function and neuroplasticity the results are even better. In our clinic we perform a comprehensive neurological examination assessing potential functional limitations of different lobes of the brain. Our rehabilitation then can be very specific to target those areas and improve the neuroplasticity.
Functional Neurology allows our brain to integrate more efficiently and effectively.
We also will recommend supplements to help improve the cognitive function and reduce inflammation . Supplements such as Tumeric, Resveratrol, Omega 3’s, PQQ, and phosphatidylcholine.
Conditions That Benefit from LLLT
Improving Bonde Density