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  • Dr. Jason Rountree

Does laser therapy help Alzheimer's symptoms?

It's only been a couple of days since we held a community workshop on brain health, but I wanted to bring some very NEW research to our blog! Remember, we can help you with cognitive assessment and building a personalized brain preservation plan at our Kalispell laser therapy clinic.

The International Journal of Molecular Sciences released a review titled "Photobiomodulation for Neurodegenerative Diseases: A Scoping Review" and you can read the entire study for free right here. I pulled a few lines that I thought you might find interesting.

"Considering the significant dependence of the brain on mitochondrial activity, it is unsurprising that [laser therapy] has undergone extensive testing for the treatment of various brain diseases. [Laser therapy] activates multiple signaling pathways, including those mediated by [reactive oxygen species], resulting in an upregulation of antioxidant defenses. Anti-apoptotic and pro-survival signals are also triggered."

How does laser therapy help the brain? 

"Firstly, [laser] mobilizes stem cells from hypoxic niches, allowing them to migrate to sites of injury, where they can facilitate repair. Secondly, alterations in mitochondria can shift the phenotype of macrophages and microglial cells from pro-inflammatory M1 states to anti-inflammatory and phagocytic M2 states...[laser] can improve the survival of neurons, promote neurogenesis, reduce cerebral inflammatory reaction, enhance cerebral blood flow, and maintain mitochondrial homeostasis, so as to improve the response of neurons to cell damage in the process of neurodegenerative disease progression."

In our workshop, we talked about the amyloid plaques that accumulate in the brain and seem to be a big part of the symptoms with Alzheimer's Disease. Laser therapy "effectively reduces the burden of amyloid plaques by stimulating the phagocytosis of protein aggregates via microglia or by regulating the level of the enzymes involved in the production and degradation pathways of β-amyloid (Aβ) peptides...Furthermore, [laser] promoted [anti-inflammatory cell changes], facilitating the recruitment of microglial cells around amyloid plaques."

"Cell apoptosis [death] stands as one of the pathophysiological mechanisms in normal brain aging and neurodegenerative diseases...(laser) substantially prevented apoptosis by decreasing pro-apoptotic factors..."

Laser therapy has been shown to "enlarge blood vessel diameter, and enhance cerebral blood flow." That means the "groceries" come in faster and the "trash" gets taken out sooner!

Alzheimer's laser therapy

"Currently, despite the substantial financial investments made in the development of therapeutic drugs for AD, significant breakthroughs in its treatment efficacy remain elusive. However, the therapeutic efficacy and safety of [laser treatments] have been validated in numerous preclinical and clinical studies, suggesting that [laser treatment] may emerge as a promising alternative therapeutic approach for neurodegenerative diseases. By leveraging advantages such as a non-invasive nature and lack of side effects, [laser] can serve as an adjunctive therapy to existing effective treatments and even evolve into a preventive therapeutic modality. In summary, [laser therapy] holds great promise in the treatment and prevention of cognitive impairments."

Of course, further research is needed and is in progress, but I think it is so exciting to see more and more evidence of laser therapy benefits! 


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