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What can you tell me about laser light therapy and Parkinson’s

Thursday August 16, 2012

Turns out light can stimulate cells to behave differently. Researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine studied the effect of a  low-level, near-infrared laser on nerve cells taken from people with Parkinson’s disease.  The research was done in cells taken from people with Parkinson’s and compared to non-Parkinsons cells.  A single, brief treatment with a 810 nm low-level, near-infrared laser increased the velocity of mitochondrial cells for 2 hours approaching the rate of mitochondria in non-PD cells.  Mitochondria are the energy producing components of the cell and their activity is reduced in PD. Energy is needed for cell growth and maintaining cell health.  Enhancing the functioning of mitochondria in cells taken from patients with PD may reduced the cell death seen with PD.

Light therapy is not new to brain disease. For instance full spectrum light is helpful for people suffering from seasonal depression. While promising, this research was tested in cells outside the body and much work needs to be done to develop light treatment inside the body of live individuals with PD.

Research was published in Molecular Neurodegeneration on June 17, 2009.

Monique L. Giroux, MDMonique L. Giroux, MD
Guest Blogger, Former Medical Director of NWPF

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