Dementia breakthrough as infrared light therapy could unlock puzzle

In a pilot study, researchers used a helmet beam infrared light into the brains of healthy volunteers. The results showed their memory, motor function and processing skills improved. The research team, led by Dr Paul Chazot of Durham University and GP Dr Gordon Dougal, have said that infrared light therapy, or transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (PBM-T), could be used to help people who live with dementia.

The scientists took 14 healthy people aged 45 and over and exposed them to six minutes of PBM-T twice a day at a wavelength of 2068 nanometres for a month.

And a control group of 13 people were given a dummy helmet to use.

In testing both of the groups, they both showed significant improvements in performance in motor function, memory and brain processing speed in those who used the real helmet compared to test subjects who were given the dummy.

Dr Chazot, who has spent 20 years studying particular infrared wavelengths for dementia treatment, said: “While this is a pilot study and more research is needed, there are promising indications that therapy involving infrared light might also be beneficial for people living with dementia and this is worth exploring.

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

He also said that certain wavelengths of infrared light can help reduce nerve cell damage.

Dr Dougal came up with the £7,250 PBM-T helmet.
The spectacular invention is used to deliver infrared light into the brain from 14 fan-cooled LED light arrays.

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Dr Dougal said that the helmet “may well help dying brain cells regenerate into functioning units once again”.
He said: “Much more research is needed to fully understand the mechanism of action.”

Tracy Sloan, 56, was one of the healthy test subjects who was given the helmet to improve her memory.

She said the helmet did improve in her daily life after she wore it for six minutes at a time in the morning and night for a period lasting over three months.

She said: “I have a bad memory to start with and I think as you get older it gets no better, so I thought I would give the therapy a go.

“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.”

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The study, published in the journal Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine And Laser Surgery.

There are currently 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, an all-time high.

This number is projected to increase even further.

And 52 percent of the UK public, 34.5 million people, know someone who has been diagnosed with a form of dementia.

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