Infrared light therapy would enhance memory in dementia and Parkinson’s disease

It is an experimental treatment created by scientists at Durham University. Taking 6 minutes a day could help patients with brain disorders improve their memory and movement

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Scientists tested participants for verbal, memory and motor skills before and after therapy

A new infrared light therapy that takes just a few minutes each day could help patients with dementia and other brain disorders improve their memory and movement, a new experimental study reveals.

This alternative could imply a revolutionary change in treatment also in the case of people suffering from Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injuries, or motor neuron disorders.

Researchers from Durham University in the UK carried out the research, together with a group of engineers from BSc Engineering who facilitated the technological development, found that therapy improved memory, motor function, and processing skills. The team revealed in their paper that the therapy helps stimulate blood flow in the brain, thereby opening vessels so more oxygen can reach the white matter deep within the brain.

At the moment, this new technology will not be economical. The study authors point out in their own research that each helmet costs just over $ 10,000, but they highlight the possibility that patients can complete treatments at home. A healthy participant in the trial, with no history of any brain disease, was cited in the document, rating the use of a helmet as “simple”. He wore the helmet for three months. During that time, he used the device for six minutes in the morning and as many minutes at night, not necessarily with full dedication, sometimes while, for example, watching television.

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The Therapy Helps To Stimulate Blood Flow In The Brain, Thus Opening The Vessels So That More Oxygen Can Reach The White Matter Deep Within The Brain (Getty)

“I have a poor memory, to begin with, and I think as you get older it doesn’t get better, so I thought I’d give therapy a try. I wasn’t sure it made a difference, but after going through it I think it did. After a few weeks I noticed that my sleeping pattern was better, I felt more relaxed and had more energy. I am not a person in a bad mood, but my youngest daughter said that I was not so moody and my manager at that time used to laugh and say that therapy must be working because I did not need to write things down, I could remember them”, that is the statement that one of the 56-year-old participants, Tracy Sloan, revealed at the therapy presentation press conference.

What is the secret?

The scientists tested the participants’ verbal, memory and motor skills before and after therapy. The helmet works by sending infrared light from 14 arrays of fan-cooled LED lights, directing them into the brain at a wavelength between 1,060 and 1,080 nanometers.

It delivers 1,368 joules of energy to the skull during each treatment cycle, the scientists explain. One joule equals the work required to produce one watt of power continuously for one second

This action helps to generate most of the chemical energy necessary to drive the biochemical reactions of the cells. This, in turn, leads to an increase in the level of an organic compound called adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which drops markedly in patients with dementia. ATP provides energy to drive processes in living cells and help nerve cells repair themselves.

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“We Know That Infrared Light Of Particular Wavelengths Can Help Alleviate Nerve Cell Damage,” The Researchers Said. (Getty)

“My children would look at me and ask me about what was on my mind, but I thought that if this helped me it was worth it. It was very light to wear and could be plugged in while wearing. I would love to use it again because it definitely helped me. If people can afford something like this and it makes their quality of life that much better, I’d say they should definitely give it a try,” Sloan added at the presentation.

All 14 study participants entered the trial as healthy adults over the age of 45, but experts believe the innovative treatment could help those with a number of debilitating brain conditionsThere were no adverse side effects from wearing the helmet.

“We have shown what appear to be real improvements in memory and other neurological processes for healthy people when their brains are exposed to a specific wavelength of infrared light for short and constant periods. While this is a pilot study and more research is needed, there is promising evidence that infrared light therapy might also be beneficial for people living with dementia and this is worth exploring,” said study co-author Paul Chazot. from Durham University.

Previous papers have been published by the same team, as have a number of New York University researchers, in independent clinical studies that provided the first evidence of a profound and rapid improvement in memory performance in dementia. “We know that infrared light of particular wavelengths can help alleviate nerve cell damage, amyloid loading, and reduced blood flow in the brain, which are common in people with dementia, so it could be used as a revolutionary multimodal form of therapy. It could provide a new dementia modification strategy, with the potential to alleviate many of the serious problems faced by people with the disease and reduce the burden on their caregivers,” concludes Chazot.


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Written by Christina d'souza

Proofreader, editor, journalist. I have been doing my favourite thing for more than six years.

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