Infrared light therapy could help people with dementia, scientists say

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Researchers have said that infrared light therapy could potentially be used to help people with dementia.

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A pilot study led by Dr Paul Chazot and GP Dr Gordon Dougal of Durham University used a helmet to shine light into the brains of healthy volunteers. The results showed improvements in the volunteers’ memory, motor functioning and processing skills.

As a result, researchers believe that transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (PBM-T) may benefit people with dementia.


Dr Chazot said: “While this is a pilot study and more research is needed, there are promising indications that therapy involving infrared light may also be beneficial for people with dementia and is worth exploring.

“In fact, we and our US research colleagues also recently published a new independent clinical study that provides the first evidence for a profound and rapid improvement in memory performance in dementia.”

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In a study published in the journal Photobiomodulation, photomedicine and laser surgery, 14 healthy people aged 45 years and older received six minutes of PBM-T at a wavelength of 2068 nanometers twice a day for one month.

Along with these volunteers, a control group of 13 people were given a dummy helmet to use.

Test results on both groups revealed significant improvements in performance in motor function, memory, and brain processing speed in those who used the actual helmet compared to those given a placebo.

Created by Douglas, the £7,250 PBM-T helmet works by delivering infrared light from 14 fan-cooled LED light arrays deep in the brain.

The GP said the helmet “could help regenerate dead brain cells into working units once again”.

He added: “Much more research is needed to fully understand the mechanism of action.”

Tracy Sloan, 56, used a helmet to improve her memory. She works as a GP’s administrator, is healthy and has no diagnosable conditions that would affect her memory. However, he saw improvements in his daily life after wearing the helmet morning and night for six minutes each time over three months.

“I have a bad memory to begin with and I find that it doesn’t get better as you get older, so I thought I’d give up on therapy,” she said.

“I wasn’t sure it would make a difference, but to be honest I think it did.

“After a few weeks I noticed that my sleeping pattern was better, I felt more relaxed and I had more energy.”

The study follows 20 years of investigation by Dr. Chazot into the identification, development and validation of a particular infrared wavelength for use in dementia treatment.

All this comes after a study in the US indicated that infrared treatment had a positive effect on people with mild to moderate dementia.


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