Everything You Need To Know About Red Light Therapy And Parkinson’s Disease
Emerging research on red light therapy for Parkinson’s shows great promise for patients suffering from this neurological disorder. Although medications may help control symptoms, they cannot repair the underlying nerve damage that is characteristic of Parkinsons. As red light therapy works at the cellular level, it can help heal the nerve damage, and also relieve symptoms of the disease.
Symbyx Is Focused On Light Therapies
SYMBYX is focused on developing light therapies for intractable conditions like Parkinsons, Fibromyalgia, IBS and Chronic pain, as well as understanding the role of the gut microbiome in restoring health.Ground-breaking research was published on 2 July 2021 involving 52 week trial of light therapy on people living with Parkinsons, in BMC Neurology JournalIts the loss of dopamine in the brain that causes Parkinsons disease, but what most people dont realise is that half our dopamine actually comes from the gut! Measures of patient mobility, cognition, dynamic balance and fine motor skills were significantly improved with photobiomodulation treatment
How Does It Help Parkinsons Patients
Parkinsons disease occurs as a result of the death of certain cells in the brain. These cells produce a chemical called dopamine, which is a neurotransmitter responsible for controlled movement. It is due to the deficiency of dopamine that severely affects the brains ability to send movement signals to different parts of the body, including the legs. As a result, the patients get tired quickly and experience trouble walking. Most often, they stop suddenly whilst trying to step forward, this is called freezing. This sudden freezing can be hazardous for patients as it can make them fall and cause serious injuries.
The basic science behind the In-step LaserCane is the projection of visual cue in the form of a laser beam light, which sends a message to the brain to allow the leg to move forward.The laser line automatically projects right in front of the leg as soon as the cane comes in contact with the ground. This bright laser line serves as a safe, obstacle-free visual cue, which prevents falling and help Parkinsons patient to begin the step by stepping over the line. The laser line disappears when the cane is lifted and reappears when it touches the ground again for another step thus allows the patient to step after step and restore the normal walk.
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Is It Available To Me
There are infrared light sources on the market that you can buy in a specialty store or on the internet. These however, are not the same as the light sources that are used in a clinical study environment. They may or may not prove helpful to people with Parkinson’s suffering from sleep disturbances, and should only be used after seeking input from your physician.
Laserlight Cues For Gait Freezing In Parkinsons Disease: An Open
Donovan, S., Lim, C., Diaz, N., Browner, N., Rose, P., Sudarsky, L.R., Tarsy, D., Fahn, S., Simon, D.K. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 17: 240-245.Laserlight cues for gait freezing in Parkinsons disease: an open-label study.,
Background of the Study: Freezing of gait , or a sudden, brief inability to start or maintain normal stepping movements, is prevalent symptom of Parkinsons disease that affects about 32% of patients with PD. Unfortunately, unlike other symptoms of PD, FOG is resistant to Parkinsons medications and shows little improvement with ordinary walking aids. Since FOG often leads to falls and can contribute to disability and quality of life impairment in patients with PD, there is a significant need for more effective strategies for controlling FOG in PD.Accordingly, a recent study conducted by researchers of the Harvard Medical School and Columbia University , establishes that the use of laserlight visual cues is an effective strategy for managing FOG and reducing falls in patients with PD. This suggestion was based on a comparative analysis of freezing and fall frequency in patients with FOG in PD when using a standard walking aid and when using a walking aid with a laserlight feature.Purpose of Study: The purpose of the study was to assess the effectiveness of laserlight visual cues for controlling FOG in 26 Parkinsons patients with FOG.
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The Light Treatments Available Now
Those already suffering with Parkinsons dont need to wait for the trial results, as there are light therapy products from SYMBYX already available on the market.
It is legal and regulated and its available for purchase, Dr Wayne Markman, CEO of SYMBYX an Australian medical technology company told 7NEWS.
Who Can Use It
This high-quality In-step LserCane is designed for people suffering from gait problem due to Parkinsons disease. The cane is also useful for those suffering from ALS, stroke or other brain conditions. Even if you dont have any of the above-mentioned illness and simply want to improve your stride length, the In-step lasercane is a good choice for you.
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Circadian System A Novel Diagnostic And Therapeutic Target In Parkinson’s Disease
Our research then led us to discover that many, many workers have found similar positive results, and continue to do so. Even the benefits of strategic light therapy “simply” for improving sleep – which is typically chronically disrupted in people with PD – should not be understated. This because it is during periods of good sleep when the brain clears itself of waste products and the body repairs itself. Therefore for people who are already neuro-compromised, broken sleep and the resulting build of toxins in the brain is a fast track to a vicious circle of further degeneration.
Here, I am trying to keep an up-to-date list of articles on the science of all this:
How To Use It
The In-step LaserCane is very easy and safe to use. Its not different in any aspect from other normal cane when it comes to use it for walking. Simply put pressure on the cane, takes a step over the laser beam line, pick the cane up off the ground and moves it forward, and take the next step. Its that simple to use.
It is very light and you will feel like using a normal stick. Plus, you can easily adjust the height according to your comfort. This is just another reason this cane is so convenient and a must have if you have an abnormal gait pattern.
The cane is powered by two AA batteries, which are easily replaceable and last for half a year.
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An Overview Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons disease is an incurable nervous system disorder. It is characterized by movement problems including uncontrolled tremors, impaired balance, muscle stiffness, and Bradykinesia that usually begins on one side of the body, eventually affects both sides of the body, and worsens over time.
It is often accompanied by depression, emotional changes, loss of facial expression, speech changes, muscle cramps, pain, fatigue, urinary/excretory problems, sleep problems, dementia and other cognitive declines, sexual dysfunction, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and orthostatic hypotension .
PD is caused by the abnormal death of brain cells , especially in the substantia nigra, which is the base of the brain which controls dopamine production. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps control motor functions such as walking. MS patients also have extremely low production of norepinephrine, which is responsible for the autonomous nervous system functioning including blood pressure.
Although the cause of neuronal death is not fully known, it could be due to environmental toxins such as pesticides, hereditary factors, and/or mitochondrial dysfunction. The mitochondria are the energy-producing centers of cells in the human body and it is believed that mitochondrial dysfunction may be the culprit in several neurodegenerative disorders, including PD.
Could Light Hold The Key To Help Manage Parkinsons Symptoms Or Even Have A Protective Effect On Brain Cells This Blog Explores The Research Evidence And What The Future Might Hold
Light has a huge impact on life from sustaining the plants we eat to allowing us to see, everyone of us is dependent on the power of light.
The power of light has been investigated in many conditions, and although it is still very much an experimental technique, there is research to suggest that light therapy can have protective and restorative properties. There is also evidence that light can alter our sleep, mood and behaviour.
So why is light relevant to Parkinsons?In Parkinsons it is the loss of dopamine producing brain cells that cause both movement symptoms and other symptoms known as non-motor symptoms such as problems sleeping, depression, and loss of motivation.
Research is being done to look at whether treatment using light could offer protection to struggling brain cells to potentially slow down the progression of Parkinsons. And research is also looking into how light, in various forms, could be used to directly manage the symptoms of Parkinsons.
This is a fascinating topic as researchers try to unpick why cells that sit in the middle of the brain, in complete darkness could be protected, or even healed, by light. How do cells in the eye signal to the deepest parts of the brain? Or is it that light is being absorbed by specific components in cells activating and providing energy for the body to promote brain cell survival, protection or regeneration?
Lets explore some of the ways light is being looked at with regard to Parkinsons research.
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In Depth: Dr Greg Willis
“In the early years of dopamine theory it was generally accepted that the more severe the cell loss, the more severe the dopamine deficiency and the more severe the Parkinsons disease. However, this position has been very gradually eroded by the ongoing demonstration that this relationship is a poor one. In fact, recent work has demonstrated that Parkinsons disease can develop with only 30% loss of dopamine 715-725, 2010) suggesting that it is not only the level of dopamine that is important. This has important implications for treating the disease and is consistent with our approach using coordinated drug and light treatment.”
Willis’ understanding of the mechanisms of Parkinson’s Disease is a little different from the standard, accepted picture. He argues that it is not just about the lack of production of dopamine but that the balance between dopamine and melatonin, the substance responsible for making us sleepy, is whats broken. It is this imbalance, he argues, which can cause many of the symptoms of PD. so it’s not just that there isn’t enough dopamine in the system, but there is actually too much melatonin, relatively speaking.
In his latest paper with co-workers, Dr Willis provides a good description of the protocol his clinic employs:
The same article also covers issues with why bright light therapy might not initially work for every person with PD:
Equipment And Gait Protocol
To measure spatiotemporal gait parameters, a portable Inertial Measurement Unit system was applied, with 10 inertial sensors placed on each subject’s lower back, chest, and bilateral feet, ankles, thighs and wrists by elastic belts. Each sensor collected spatiotemporal gait information in real time while the participants were walking, and transmitted the information to the host computer via a Bluetooth link for further processing and storage. IMU-based measurements can measure the fundamental gait parameters with sufficient accuracy in both healthy subjects and PD patients . The gait assessments were conducted in a hall with enough space to avoid environmental factors that might contribute to FOG.
Figure 1. The wearable laser lights used as visual cues. The transverse strips used as visual cues. Ten-meter walking trial and data used for calculating destination SE and gait parameters.
What Does It Do
This laser light accessory provides visual and auditory cues, providing something to focus on that would naturally initiate the ability to walk again. It isnt uncommon for those with PD to suffer from reoccurring freezing episodes, theyre random at best and theres no real warning for when theyll come on. When the laser light accessory is attached, there are buttons near the handle to initiate the laser, after ten minutes of idle use, the laser will turn off automatically.
The theory behind these laser mechanisms is that the visible cue of the laser will bypass anything the brain might be telling the legs, resulting in the ability to walk towards the light. In some cases, it might not always work as there is no treatment for these freezing episodes, but it does help initiate the process of walking again.
While its very possible to simply just tape some laser pointers to your walker, we recommend using the actual product as it has better programming and is more functional to those with disabilities. Although, keeping a pocket laser here and there definitely couldnt hurt!
Unlocking Life’s Full Potential
Parkinsons symptoms vary from individual to individual as it is an extremely heterogeneous disease affecting everyone differently.By implementing SYMBYXs treatment protocols, our flexible PDCare hand-held device is used to treat the gut, wide-ranging positive changes are being recorded by patients. Such changes include motor improvements, better sleep, lightened mood, reduced muscle pain and even returned sense of smell.
How is this even possible!?
The PDCare Laser therapy increases gut fermentation of dietary fibre, which in turn facilitates the production of helpful gut metabolites .SCFAs are important for manufacturing the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin that are in short supply in a Parkinsons patient . In essence, the gut takes on an even greater load and compensates for the reduction of dopamine production in the brain.
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What Parkinson’s Takes Away
Parkinsons is both a neurological and movement disorder which occurs when brain cells producing dopamine slowly begin to die off.When dopamine levels get too low, neurons start to fire more randomly, leading to the classic symptoms of Parkinsons tremour, rigidity and/or stiff muscles, slowness of movement and unstable posture.Additionally, patients may experience problems sleeping, decreased sense of smell, depression or anxiety and problems with more typical brain functions such as planning, making decisions or paying attention.
Laser Medicine: An Exciting Potential Breakthrough For People Living With Parkinsons
SYMBYX is a fast-growing med-tech company founded in Sydney in late 2019. This month , it welcomed the publication of key research from its 2019-2020 Adelaide clinical trial in the UKs prestigious BMC Neurology Journal. Parkinsons South Australia partially funded the trial.
The journal published the results of a 52-week trial involving two groups of patients that showed both statistical and clinical improvements across a wide range of motor and non-motor skills. The study involved the use of light therapy, known as photobiomodulation , which is being trialled by SYMBYX to treat a range of neurodegenerative conditions, among which Parkinsons disease is the initial priority. The results, published on 2 July 2021 by BMC found that measures of patent mobility, cognition, dynamic balance and fine motor skill were significantly improved with PBM treatment for 12 weeks and up to one year.
Many individual improvements were above the minimal clinically important difference, the threshold judged to be meaningful for participants, the research stated. Individual improvements varied but many continued for up to one year with sustained home treatment. No side effects of the treatment were observed.
Results from a separate PBM trial using SYMBYX technology are expected to be published imminently in a different peer reviewed journal and will add to the growing and promising body of research in this area.
The content in this article is in no way endorsed by PD Warrior.
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Light Therapy And Parkinson’s
NIr therapy works by using infrared illumination to treat brain tissue affected by a lack of oxygen, toxic environments, and mitochondrial dysfunction. Mitochondria help to produce energy in cells and play a role in regulating cell function when working properly. NIr attempts to reduce cell damage and death by protecting the dopamine-producing neurons.2 NIr has been shown to reduce tissue inflammation and improve mitochondrial function.
It is not a targeted therapy because it works on the neural symptoms of many conditions by reducing the neurodegenerative process. Light therapy targets the brain and therefore it is likely to impact multiple facets of neural functioning. Studies have yielded results that show improvement in cognitive, emotional, and executive function.
Photobiomodulation is the ability of light to modulate biological processes at a cellular level.4 The use of controlled exposure of red to infrared wavelengths of light have successfully improved healing, reduced inflammation and pain. It has done this by improving mitochondrial function and stimulating antioxidant pathways in the brain. Photobiomodualtion has been therapeutically effective to improve the recovery rate for other medical conditions, and has shown promise in the lab for people and animals with PD.
Strategic use of specific light applied at a targeted time of day for a specific length of time should be able to “attack” melatonin, and reduce it, thus restoring dopamine balance.5
The Effects Of Red Light On Parkinsons
Here are some examples of how red light can help with the symptoms and underlying causes of Parkinsons disease.
Stimulation of Cellular Metabolism and Functioning
When red/NIR light photons are absorbed by photoreceptor molecules inside cells, there is an immediate surge in the production of ATP in the mitochondria. This stimulates vasodilation , which increases the flow of blood and lymphatic fluid.
It also leads to increased activity of genes responsible for neurogenesis and synaptogenesis . According to a 2017 study by Australian researcher John Mitrofanis, this chain reaction leads to healthier neurons that can better protect and repair themselves from oxidative stress and other damage. As Mitrofanis writes in the published study:
As it stands, light therapy in the experimental setting has been shown to both protect and rescue neurons from degeneration after parkinsonian injury, something that current therapies in patients do not do.
Red light affects cells not only in the brain but throughout the entire body. Along with being stimulated and energized to perform at their best, cells also become less prone to the degenerative effects of Parkinsons and other disorders.
Direct and Indirect Effects and Neuroprotection
A University of Sydney article explored how transcranial photobiomodulation could positively affect PD patients. The researchers believe that NIR light could have three effects:
Reducing Inflammation, Oxidative Stress, and Nitrosative Stress
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