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Brain Recovery through Intranasal Light Therapy?
Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 12:47 PM
Joined: 1/20/2014
Posts: 5



 I'm trying to gather information. Ever since my 78 year old father started showing mild signs of Alzheimer's five months ago, I've started searching for alternative solutions in the hopes that I might slow down the progression of his dementia and the degeneration of his cognitive ability. 
I came across an article in Dr. Rowen's newsletter(http://www.mediclights.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Newsletter-2nd-11-13.pdf ) about a relatively new field called "Intranasal Light Therapy". His monthly articles have a large following in North America and they focus mainly on complementary and alternative medicine. As an advocate of mainstream medicine, I was skeptical at first despite his scientific reasoning but further research into the pre-existing research done at Harvard, Stanford and Boston University behind "Low Level Laser Therapy" actually convinced me into giving this product called the '810 Infrared' by a Canadian-based company called 'Vielight' a try. 
A month has progressed and so far, my father seems to be more alert and his memory functions better. Though, it's still too soon to actually tell if this might be the side effect of the cholinesterase inhibiting drugs he's been taking but there is definitely a noticeable improvement over the months where he was just on the drugs.
I was wondering if anyone else has any thoughts in regards to this new field for treating Alzheimer's? I'm extremely hopeful and this field seems like the most promising alternative so far as there are no harmful side effects, unlike drugs. 

Dr Rowen's Article on Alzheimer's disease : http://www.mediclights.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Newsletter-2nd-11-13.pdf 


Stanford University article : http://www.stanford.edu/~kendric/PDF/B53.pdf 
Harvard University articleshttp://www.theragem.com/docs/harvardstudy.pdf 

Boston University article : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104287/ 
A British scientific article : www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1743298/pdf/v081p00436.pdf  

NASA research further explains : 

“Low-energy photon irradiation by light in the far-red to near-IR spectral range with low-energy (LLLT) lasers or LED arrays has been found to modulate various biological processes in cell culture and animal models. This phenomenon of photobiomodulation has been applied clinically in the treatment of soft tissue injuries and the acceleration of wound healing. The mechanism of photobiomodulation by red to near-IR light at the cellular level has been ascribed to the activation of mitochondrial respiratory chain components, resulting in initiation of a signaling cascade that promotes cellular proliferation and cytoprotection.” 

“A growing body of evidence suggests that cytochrome oxidase is a key photoacceptor of light in the far-red to near-IR spectral range. Cytochrome oxidase is an integral membrane protein that contains four redox active metal centers and has a strong absorbency in the far-red to near-IR spectral range detectable in vivo by near-IR spectroscopy.” 

“Moreover, 660–680 nm of irradiation has been shown to increase electron transfer in purified cytochrome oxidase, increase mitochondrial respiration and ATP synthesis in isolated mitochondria, and up-regulate cytochrome oxidase activity in cultured neuronal cells.” 

“LED photostimulation induces a cascade of signaling events initiated by the initial absorption of light by cytochrome oxidase. These signaling events may include the activation of immediate early genes, transcription factors, cytochrome oxidase subunit gene expression, and a host of other enzymes and pathways related to increased oxidative metabolism.” 


“In addition to increased oxidative metabolism, red to near-IR light stimulation of mitochondrial electron transfer is known to increase the generation of reactive oxygen species. These mitochondrially generated reactive oxygen species may function as signaling molecules to provide communication between mitochondria and the cysts and nucleus.” 
Therapeutic photobiomodulation for methanol-induced retinal toxicity. 
   Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Mar18; 100(6): 3439-44. Epub 2003 Mar 07.  

Lane Simonian
Posted: Monday, January 20, 2014 2:45 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

First of all welcome here.  I applaud your efforts to find alternative treatments for Alzheimer's disease.  This will likely be the general route to the effective treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

My hypothesis (or more accurately the hypothesis that I have adopted) for Alzheimer's disease is that it is caused by peroxynitrites and that anything which reduces peroxynitrite levels can potentially positively modify the disease.  So I was quite pleased to read that low-level laser therapy reduces inducible nitric oxide which combines with superoxide anions to form peroxynitrites.  It also increases the beneficial form of nitric oxide (constitutive nitric oxide) which increases the blood flow in the brain and the regeneration of neurons.  So while I don't think the authors have always identified the right mechanisms, this form of therapy may have some benefit for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

In contrast, in the LLLT group, reduced formation of nitrotyrosine is indicative of reduced iNOS expression and lower NO generation and decreased peroxynitrite production. In this case, LLLT was able to reduce oxidative and nitrative stresses and, consequently, decrease deleterious effects to the injured tissue. These findings suggest that LLLT could be used to lessen the damaging effects of ROS and RNS generated in the muscle lesion [for tissue damage to muscles but also applicable to the brain].



Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 10:08 AM
Joined: 1/20/2014
Posts: 5

Hi Lane,


Thank you for the scientific insight. I've read through the other thread on this forum regarding preoxynitrite scavenging and it's close correlation with Alzheimer's Disease. Though, what about other factors that contribute to Alzheimer's as well?


I realize that atrophication of the brain(dendrites) is one of the major causes of Alzheimer's disease - (http://cdn.zmescience.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/02/brain_cross_section_border.jpg) as you can see from this image.


As for correlation, I'm also wondering if stimulating the brain via LLLT might also slow down the progression of the degeneration of the brain. I found this interesting article regarding LLLT and the reversal of dendrite atrophy - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23946409)


From what I could find from PubMed, LLLT has a role in cortical metabolic capacity and memory retention as well - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22850314). I'm just wondering if these studies yield to the high standards of the Cochrane collaboration though.


Nevertheless, I feel fortunate that I stumbled upon "Intranasal Light Therapy" in Dr. Rowen's newsletter as having an alternative with no side-effects with huge potential for slowing down the progression of Alzheimer's is better than none when in a time of desperation.




Low Level Laser Therapy rescues brain dendrite atrophy http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23946409 


Low Level Laser Therapy improves cortical metabolic metabolic capacity and memory retention - http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22850314

Lane Simonian
Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2014 11:16 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

This makes sense as constitutive nitric oxide increases brain growth whereas peroxynitrites contribute to brain atrophy.  Low level laser therapy at the proper levels should help in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.  I hope that it continues to help your father.


Lane Simonian
Posted: Monday, January 27, 2014 10:54 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

I was trying to find the mechanism by which bamboo charcoal braces increase blood circulation and reduce inflammation figuring that such a mechanism might also help for Alzheimer's disease.  It turns out that these braces emit far infrared radiation.  Then I thought maybe there is a connection to low level laser therapy and there is. 


Low level laser therapy

Low level laser therapy uses red and infrared light which is non-thermal, does not burn or heat and is very useful when combined with acupuncture for painful musculoskeletal conditions.


Dr Marilyn Golden is a qualified laser therapist and she uses low level laser therapy for many different inflammatory skin conditions such as acne (her specialty), eczema, wounds, scarring, postsurgery healing, nail conditions, non-needle acupuncture, mastitis (postpartum) and lymphoedema. Low level laser therapy is also useful for treating pain.


Far infrared energy consists of a wavelength of 5 to 25 microns which penetrates through skin, improves circulation and lymphatic drainage, relieves pain, spasm and inflammation, enhances elimination of toxins and stimulates the flow of Qi and self- healing. Humans radiate close to nine microns of infrared heat. It is safe and mimics the use of moxa in traditional acupuncture therapy. For whole body detoxification therapy we use the Far Infrared sauna and for specific conditions as above, we use Far Infrared therapeutic devices in the clinic.  


Here are some articles on the potential of this technology. 




So CuriousCanadian may well be on to something. 




Biff Calhoun
Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:37 PM
Joined: 8/20/2013
Posts: 56



Oh boy!  I’m gunna get myself in trouble now…..


A.    Just wanted to point out that, I looked around about the gent mentioned as the proponent of this therapy [the guy who wrote the original article].  Unfortunately, I found a blurb about Dr. Robert Rowen on the QuackWatch.org website:


Robert Rowen, M.D., who is listed as an ABCMT advisor, now practices in California. While practicing in Alaska, Rowen set up "asset protection" trusts in an attempt to avoid federal income tax and did not file returns for 1992 through 1997. In 1997, Rowen pled guilty to a federal felony charge of "corrupt endeavor to impede" an agent of the Internal Revenue service and was sentenced to 10 months of probation and ordered to pay $10,003.91 in restitution and a $2,000 fine. He filed for bankruptcy, but in 2003, the court ruled that this did not discharge his tax debt [22]. In April 2007, after appeals had been denied, the court issued an abstract of judgment for $1,124,800.90. (1) 


B.    I also note that Dr. Rowen suggests patients can order a supplement to help the laser technology work, but fails to disclose that it appears he is one of the principles in that business.(2)  So it would appear that Dr. Rowen stands to benefit from any sales his article might encourage.


C.    Further, I note the follow verbiage when he talks about the device one can buy as the “therapy.”  This wording sounds like he might get a “cut” of any sales that his newsletter generates.


If you’re interested in ordering a XXXXXXXXX

red laser light, you can do so by calling XXX-YYY-ZZZZ. 

Please mention that you heard about this from Second  

Opinion and they will pay special attention to your needs. (3)


D.    Further, I looked into the company that sells this device and note that indeed it IS a Canadian Company – fwiw.


I dunno, I think I’ll take a “pass” on this technology until there are some completed Phase III trials showing it has efficacy.   I hope we aren’t so desperate for a “cure” that we are willing to try anything just because it sounds good.    



1.      http://www.quackwatch.org/04ConsumerEducation/Nonrecorg/abcmt/overview.html 

2.     http://www.advancedbionutritionals.com/About-Us.htm 

3.     http://www.mediclights.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/Newsletter-2nd-11-13.pdf 



Lane Simonian
Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 12:52 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

This is good information to have and adds an important note of caution. When the observation is made that something is helping, I try to figure out the mechanism, even if at first it sounds outlandish.  Of course, there is a difference between how something might help and whether it helps a little or not at all.  Sometimes it is easier to figure out if a messenger is flawed than if their message is flawed.  I prefer clinical trials and numerous case studies to try to back up the potential mechanistic explanation (whether the messenger is flawed or not).  
Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 2:43 PM
Joined: 12/6/2011
Posts: 3326

I have not commented on this until now because it sounded fishy to me. Thanks for the update, Jiff.
Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 9:00 AM
Joined: 1/20/2014
Posts: 5

Biff, I'm Canadian and yes, Vielight is based in my country. However, I hope that does not detract from the sincerity of my plight to look for alternative cures for my father. 

I'm not advocating Intranasal Light Therapy - it is something I'm trying among a few other things besides conventional medication. I'm a subscriber to Dr. Rowen's newsletter and did some research on the topic, leading me to find promising scientific research from several well-known research institutions(like Harvard and NASA). 
My purpose here was to share and look for opinions and answers(thank you Lane Simonian) from a community as opposed to Googling through ads and poorly written articles while I search for other alternative cures for my father.
I wasn't aware Dr. Rowen was on the quack watch either. Thank you for pointing that out. It wasn't obvious to me that I think he would benefit monetarily either. As someone with an engineering background, I take pride in taking what I read with a grain of salt, hence my research on the topic. 
Hopefully, that clears my stance on things. I still believe Intranasal Light Therapy holds a lot of promise and potential when one broadens his/her horizons to relatively new fields, even if they seem unconventional. I'd rather take my chances then lose my father to conventional medicine.
Here is a video I found on youtube regarding LLLT and brain injury. It features a well-known researcher(Dr. Margaret Naeser) from Boston University regarding the brain and Low Level Laser Therapy - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IM_KQfiAZPU 
For what it's worth, the links I have found again regarding Intranasal Light Therapy(minus Dr. Rowen's article) and a few new ones.
Harvard/Boston University article on Neurorehabilitation: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065857/
Stanford University article on the mechanism of LLLT : http://www.stanford.edu/~kendric/PDF/B53.pdf 
Harvard University article on the Mechanism of Low Level Laser Therapy : http://www.theragem.com/docs/harvardstudy.pdf 
Boston University article : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3104287/
University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre on the efficacy of Low Level Laser Therapy and the brain: http://www.collegeofsyntonicoptometry.com/articles/LLLT-of-eye-and-brain.pdf

Lane Simonian
Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 11:40 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

You are welcome, CuriousCanadian.  I am going to start with the negative first and then go on to the positive.  This critique is for a helmet using near infrared light (I made a mistake earlier thinking it was far infrared light). 


Yes answers to any or all of the above questions do not necessarily mean that the helmet is pseudoscientific. Clearly, it’s not. After all, there’s a potential mechanism and there is animal data to suggest that it might have beneficial effects on cognitive function. (Without publication of detailed methods and results for the small trial in humans, I will not consider that data in evaluating this device, nor should you.) However, it is very much unproven, and Dr. Dougal is engaging in a great deal of hyperbole about NIR as a therapeutic modality for Alzheimer’s disease (“this new process will not only stop that rate of decay but partially reverse it”). His associate James Haslam has even claimed that NIR could be an antiaging treatment and “enhance local or systemic immunity” or even treat viral meningitis or encephalitis, all of which are claims for which there is no direct evidence–even if the mouse study is completely correct. Sadly, the hype surrounding this device is far more salesmanship than science, and patients with Alzheimer’s disease and their families deserve better. It’s a shame that Dr. Dougal and his co-investigators chose to take the route of science by press release to raise money for what is an interesting and potentially promising albeit risky line of research. 




My take away is that the people promoting various technologies using near infrared light have not taken the right approach (to put it nicely), but there is a mechanistic reason why this type of technology might work (and the articles you have provided support this).  This gets rather complicated but here is an explanation of why near infrared light therapy might work. 


Parkinson's disease is a common progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the degeneration of dopaminergic neurons in the substantia nigra pars compacta. Mitochondrial dysfunction has been strongly implicated in the pathogenesis of Parkinson’s disease. Thus, therapeutic approaches that improve mitochondrial function may prove to be beneficial. Previously, we have documented that near-infrared light via light-emitting diode (LED) treatment was therapeutic to neurons functionally inactivated by tetrodotoxin, potassium cyanide (KCN), or methanol intoxication, and LED pretreatment rescued neurons from KCN-induced apoptotic cell death. The current study tested our hypothesis that LED treatment can protect neurons from both rotenone- and MPP+-induced neurotoxicity. Primary cultures of postnatal rat striatal and cortical neurons served as models, and the optimal frequency of LED treatment per day was also determined. Results indicated that LED treatments twice a day significantly increased cellular ATP content, decreased the number of neurons undergoing cell death, and significantly reduced the expressions of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species in rotenone- or MPP+-exposed neurons as compared to untreated ones. These results strongly suggest that LED treatment may be therapeutic to neurons damaged by neurotoxins linked to Parkinson’s disease by energizing the cells and increasing their viability. 




Approximately 15 years ago we reported that cytochrome c oxidase (CcO) was persistently inhibited as a consequence of endogenous induction and activation of nitric oxide (NO) synthase-2 (NOS2) in astrocytes. Furthermore, the reactive nitrogen species implicated was peroxynitrite. In contrast to the reversible inhibition by NO, which occurs rapidly, in competition with O2, and has signaling regulatory implications, the irreversible CcO damage by peroxynitrite is progressive in nature and follows and/or is accompanied by damage to other key mitochondrial bioenergetic targets. In purified CcO it has been reported that the irreversible inhibition occurs through a mechanism involving damage of the heme a3-CuB binuclear center leading to an increase in the Kmfor oxygen. Astrocyte survival, as a consequence of peroxynitrite exposure, is preserved due to their robust bioenergetic and antioxidant defense mechanisms. However, by releasing peroxynitrite to the neighboring neurons, whose antioxidant defense can, under certain conditions, be fragile, activated astrocytes trigger bioenergetic stress leading to neuronal cell death. Thus, such irreversible inhibition of CcO by peroxynitrite may be a plausible mechanism for the neuronal death associated with neurodegenerative diseases, in which the activation of astrocytes plays a crucial role. 





Neuroprotective effects of near-infrared light in an in vivo model of mitochondrial optic neuropathy.

The results show that NIL [near infrared light] treatment can effectively prevent the neurotoxic effects of rotenone and that it might be used in the treatment of neurodegenerative disorders associated with mitochondrial dysfunction. 



So near infrared light might lower the production of peroxynitrites and inhibit the death of neurons by preserving (or partially preserving) mitochondrial function. 


All of this requires more study, but in the meantime let us know if it continues to help your father. 


Lane Simonian
Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 2:09 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

Hot off the presses (or nearly so):


Photobiomodulation with near infrared light mitigates Alzheimer’s disease-related pathology in cerebral cortex – evidence from two transgenic mouse models

Sivaraman PurushothumanDaniel M Johnstone*, Charith NandasenaJohn Mitrofanisand Jonathan Stone 

Alzheimer's Research & Therapy 2014, 6:2  doi:10.1186/alzrt232 

Published: 3 January 2014

Abstract (provisional)


Previous work has demonstrated the efficacy of irradiating tissue with red to infrared light in mitigating cerebral pathology and degeneration in animal models of stroke, traumatic brain injury, parkinsonism and Alzheimer?s disease (AD). Using mouse models, we explored the neuroprotective effect of near infrared light (NIr) treatment, delivered at an age when substantial pathology is already present in the cerebral cortex.



We studied two mouse models with AD-related pathologies: the K369I tau transgenic model (K3), engineered to develop neurofibrillary tangles, and the APPswe/PSEN1dE9 transgenic model (APP/PS1), engineered to develop amyloid plaques. Mice were treated with NIr 20 times over a four-week period and histochemistry was used to quantify AD-related pathological hallmarks and other markers of cell damage in the neocortex and hippocampus.



In the K3 mice, NIr treatment was associated with a reduction in hyperphosphorylated tau, neurofibrillary tangles and oxidative stress markers (4-hydroxynonenal and 8-hydroxy-2?-deoxyguanosine) to near wildtype levels in the neocortex and hippocampus, and with a restoration of expression of the mitochondrial marker cytochrome c oxidase in surviving neurons. In the APP/PS1 mice, NIr treatment was associated with a reduction in the size and number of amyloid-? plaques in the neocortex and hippocampus.



Our results, in two transgenic mouse models, suggest that NIr may have potential as an effective, minimally-invasive intervention for mitigating, and even reversing, progressive cerebral degenerations.

Biff Calhoun
Posted: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:38 PM
Joined: 8/20/2013
Posts: 56


  Hey CuriousCanadian  Gosh, I know this is tough road we are on and our time and abilities to help our loved one is limited.  I also know that this can be like jousting at wind mills! 


 But I hear you on your frustration of "waiting for standard medicine" when it comes to a cure.  It is probably cultural but us North Americans tend to want to fight a disease, rather than just take the ride it offers.  So I get that you are frustrated - standard medical practice has nothing for us right now - I get that frustration and that is why I am here too.  But I'm interested in spending my time where it can do some good and I think there are things out there better suited for my attention. 


  But come on!  I read that article in Second Opinion by Dr. Rowen and by the end of the first column I was waiting for Ron Popeil to jump out and say, "WAIT! THERE'S MORE!!!"  I mean REALLY?  He wants me to buy a device that emits a wavelength of light that I can not see or cannot measure?  Do I have "sucker" written on my forehead? 


 But then finding the guy on the QuackWatch website certainly suggests something not positive.  And then seeing that it appears that he has an undisclosed financial interest in the suplements he "suggests" is yet another thing.  Oh, and since I wrote the last post, I found something that appears as though he could have some kind financial interest or relationship with the seller of the actual device.  Now please explain to me if conflict of interest is an issue and why? 


 IMHO, that dude deserves no more of my time nor consideration.


 Now the next thing is that if one has an engineering background then they know that any "tool" used for precise purposes usually has some kind calibration and periodic testing equipment associated with it.  This is especially true for medical equipment - one needs to be able to test the device to see if it is indeed providing the wavelength, fluenece, power density, pulse structure, intensity and duration that is needed to be effective.   How does one know what these parameters are out of the box?  Remember the proposed wavelength of the device is outside the visible range. In addition, how does one know that after a week/month of use those parameters have not drifted or changed?  Would you want to take a X-Ray exam on a machine that was not calibrated and gave you too large a dose or too long of an exposure? 


Now I know you want to help in anyway you can but spending $500 on a device that you can't see its output, you have no tools to measure its output and it runs on one A battery, well that doesn't seem like a prudent choice to this chair. 


Look, before I wrote my first post I read over 15 articles including all of the links provided on this thread to that point.  I was not impressed. [Now I note I have not read the recent one Lane just posted].  But in those articles I note the following items that are "issues" for me. 


A few of the studiess were discussion of theory. One paper was anecdotal evidence from a couple of case reports.  One was - It's time to test LLLT in Great Britain!   Another showed the efficacy of wound healing on rat leg muscles.  A few were test tube studies.    None of the work was current, much of it quite aged.


But it was this comment in the abstract on one touted paper that gave me real pause and concern with the maturity of the science and any potential efficacy, suggesting to this chair that it was way too soon to put ones hopes into any device out there.


Despite many reports of positive findings from experiments conducted in vitro, in animal models and in randomized controlled clinical trials, LLLT remains controversial in mainstream medicine. The biochemical mechanisms underlying the positive effects are incompletely understood, and the complexity of rationally choosing amongst a large number of illumination parameters such as wavelength, fluence, power density, pulse structure and treatment timing has led to the publication of a number of negative studies as well as many positive 


Then finally, I'll ask this - since it is something that particularly bugs me about the current research.  Say one does buy the device and uses it?  How does one know that it is working?  [remember it emits a spectrum of light outside of the visible range.]  How does one measure its effects?  Will our measurement of success be subjective observations?  Are there objective criteria that can be used? Which ones?


How do I know any positive results are a direct cause of any device or of any intervention or a result of the placebo effect?


I dunno, maybe my way of looking at things is not the way others on here think about thinks?  I'm trying to keep a rational mind here in face of the terrible changes I see occurring and I am trying to use a rational, unemotional basis for evaluating what might help and spending my time only on the ones that are most promising and ones that are available.(1)


Hey, I'm just sayin'




1.  I don't think I'll comment further.





Lane Simonian
Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 10:36 AM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

One of the hypotheses is that low laser light therapy reduces inducibe nitric oxide production and thus slows the production of peroxxynitrites.  In mice, when the inducible nitric oxide synthase gene is knocked out, the animals basically don't develop Alzheimer's disease.

 2005 Nov 7;202(9):1163-9. Epub 2005 Oct 31.

Protection from Alzheimer's-like disease in the mouse by genetic ablation of inducible nitric oxide synthase.


Brains from subjects who have Alzheimer's disease (AD) express inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). We tested the hypothesis that iNOS contributes to AD pathogenesis. Immunoreactive iNOS was detected in brains of mice with AD-like disease resulting from transgenic expression of mutant human beta-amyloid precursor protein (hAPP) and presenilin-1 (hPS1). We bred hAPP-, hPS1-double transgenic mice to be iNOS(+/+) or iNOS(-/-), and compared them with a congenic WT strain. Deficiency of iNOS substantially protected the AD-like mice from premature mortality, cerebral plaque formation, increased beta-amyloid levels, protein tyrosine nitration, astrocytosis, and microgliosis. Thus, iNOS seems to be a major instigator of beta-amyloid deposition and disease progression. Inhibition of iNOS may be a therapeutic option in AD.

In the case of low laser light therapy, the wavelength and how it is delivered is critical to its potential effectiveness.

 2009 Mar;41(3):227-31. doi: 10.1002/lsm.20745.

In vivo effects of low level laser therapy on inducible nitric oxide synthase.

Results: Animals younger than 15 weeks showed mostly reduction of iNOS expression, while older animals showed increased iNOS expression for some LLLT protocols. Intensity and time course of inducible nitric oxide expression was found to not only depend on wavelength, but also on the mode of delivery, continuous, or pulsed irradiation.


LLLT exhibit different effects in induced inflammatory process according to different wavelengths and wave mode. Upregulation of iNOS gene following 905 nm pulsed wave suggests a different mechanism in activating the inflammatory pathway response when compared to the continuous wave.

A big question, I suppose is are these devices set up to provide the correct wavelength.  

Peroxynitrite scavengers are generally cheaper and some may be more effective in that they also inhibit the inducible nitric oxide synthase.  Low level laser therapy may be an effective adjunct treatment for Alzheimer's disease, but may be the technology has to be refined further (and hopefully the cost will come down) for it to reach its full potential.

Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 1:08 PM
Joined: 1/20/2014
Posts: 5

Hello Biff and Lane, 

Thank you for the great points you both brought up. Biff is right - we should exercise caution and not act irrationally by jumping into whatever seems plausible at the moment. Additonally, I can't comment on Dr. Rowen's credibility despite his educational background, though it does seem likely there might be some conflict of interest present after reading the article once more. I have followed Dr. Mehmet Oz's shows over the years - given the direction he has taken as of late, I'm not surprised to find him on the QuackWatch either. I firmly believe one should always be cautious when alternative medicine is taken into account.
As a mechanical engineer, I do believe in the importance of accuracy(it's extremely essential). However, I doubt it's actually feasible for that company(or most companies) to provide a measuring tool to every single consumer to test the wavelength. I suppose it's in a way, similar to asking a drug company to prove that each drug contains exactly what it says it does and not a few "extra extras". For example, the well-known drug company "Bayer" and the scandal where they sold HIV and Hepatitis C products that caused a few thousand people in the United States and around the world to contract HIV - (http://www.ahrp.org/infomail/0503/22.php). As with most devices, I believe the only option available is to trust that the parameters and dosage are in accordance to what was stated and hope for the best, as gullible as it sounds, it's not exactly logically unfound.
As for the question - how would one know if it's working? I truly don't know at this stage of time and it's difficult to actually gauge any progress. I'm not sure if any improvement I see in my father might be due to the cholinesterase inhibiting drugs, aroma therapy, etc. since I'm giving all of it a shot at once.
Lane does bring up some pretty good points as well and I've read through all of his posts. Assuming that the 810 device is properly calibrated, this paper that Lane posted(http://alzres.com/content/pdf/alzrt232.pdf) seems to validate the intranasal technology quite well. However, using mice as a gauge isn't exactly a good idea since the mass of the skull and the dermal layers in a human is almost equivalent to the mass of a mouse's brain. So the intranasal pathway with much thinner bone mass and soft tissues, that points to the source of Alzheimer's disease near the base of the brain(correct me if I'm wrong? - http://www.alz.org/braintour/early_stage.asp) seems like a more efficient pathway for the concept of "photobiomodulation". 
I may or may not be wrong here(most likely wrong) but I believe the mechanisms of action for many drugs are also not clear but they are allowed for sale because of safety and efficacy. In science and medicine, many interventions start with outcomes, often discovered by accident. It often takes decades for a mechanism to be properly understood. However, yes.. always exercise caution and take everything you read with a grain of salt.
The parameters in the 810 nm model seems to match the parameters studied in the research article by Harvard university - (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3065857/) - (808 nm specifically) and while the wavelength does not match the wavelength suggested in Lane's suggested reading regarding LLLT and inducible nitric oxide synthase(905 nm), a lot of these findings still point towards the reasoning that intranasal light therapy will have a positive effect on someone with Alzheimer's disease.
Conclusively, you and Lane are right, further trials regarding the efficacy may be required to actually conclude that it is indeed truly viable. I am, however, basing my judgment on the positive clinical trials already present in the papers I have found along with Lane's and simply do not have the time to wait for "official" results when the progression of AD is in question here. So yes, I may have wasted my $500 but on the offchance that it is effective, it's a small risk and investment I'm willing to take when my father is at stake here.

Lane Simonian
Posted: Thursday, January 30, 2014 1:48 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

Unfortunately, you are absolutely right, time is not an ally when it comes to this disease.  That is why it is a shame that small-scale clinical trials that suggest effectiveness are not expanded upon by some larger institution, organization, or government entity--so that we would know more about safety and efficacy. 


Others may feel differently, but I appreciated your thoughtful response.  I will only comment on one small part of what you said, but I took close note of it all.  I know some people suggest trying one thing at a time to try to determine efficacy but one probably cannot afford that strategy either.  I think that this disease is likely to be treated by a combination of compounds or by something that is very concentrated that enters the brain easily (and the nose seems like the ideal route).   


I think the science for treating Alzheimer's disease is there, but there is something missing in the urgency or will in many of those studying the disease. 

Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 12:20 PM
Joined: 1/20/2014
Posts: 5

Thank you for your thoughtful conclusion, Lane. From my perspective, I think the science is there, despite how unconventional it appears to be. The parameters seem to be there too but are still largely untested due to newness and lack of clinical trials. Hopefully, time and effort may eventually develop research into this further so we'll know for sure.


I'll report back if there is any progress with my father in a month or two.


Lane Simonian
Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 1:51 PM
Joined: 12/12/2011
Posts: 5130

I will certainly appreciate the follow-up.  Very best wishes to your father and you.  
Posted: Friday, May 6, 2016 11:10 AM
Joined: 5/6/2016
Posts: 4

Can I know how is your father doing so far with the vielight intranasal light therapy? Thanks.
Mimi S.
Posted: Sunday, May 8, 2016 9:22 AM
Joined: 11/29/2011
Posts: 7027

Alpha, the thread you posted to is over two years old. So whether the original poster will see this remains to be seen.
Posted: Tuesday, May 17, 2016 6:03 AM
Joined: 5/6/2016
Posts: 4

Thanks Mimi. Looks like I just have to try it on my dad and see.
Posted: Saturday, July 9, 2016 1:35 PM
Joined: 12/17/2015
Posts: 32

I understand why the person asked about the light therapy from a 2 year old post. We are all grasping at straws. Anything , no matter how remote , that might help. How many things in life predict the future -- NONE EXCEPT ALZHEIMERS DISEASE. -- I psych myself into thinking that my husband will never go down that "inevitable neurodegenerative decline for which there is no hope ". Part of me sincerely believes it will never happen. When I believe this I am in a huge black hole. So what do people like us do. We continue to look for ANYTHING that will help.
Eden Desjardins
Posted: Monday, August 1, 2016 12:49 PM
Joined: 5/25/2015
Posts: 48

I have been lurking around and just noticed this thread. I believe they were at the AAIC 2016 which I attended but did not visit the exhibit hall, unfortunately. 

From what I've found, Vielight is trying to make headway as a mainly research-based company. I called and asked them what sort of direction their company takes and was told that they are now trying to raise enough money for a fully-fledged clinical trial with St. Michael's Hospital after a relatively successful pilot study.

I was forwarded this link when I asked for more information - http://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/canadian-company-gives-hope-to-alzheimers-sufferers-with-wearable-low-level-light-therapy-586012561.html

LARGE CLINICAL TRIAL IN DESIGNThe MaRS Excellence in Clinical Innovation Technology Evaluation (EXCITE) program has selected Vielight Inc., as its newest participant. The EXCITE program will support Vielight on its path to achieve adoption by health systems in CanadaThe United States and the United Kingdom to treat memory and cognitive decline in patients suffering from dementia and Alzheimer's disease.

Hope what I've found helps..

Posted: Wednesday, April 3, 2019 11:36 AM
Joined: 2/17/2019
Posts: 380

Yep, Early results are in, and it works, also called or PhotoNeuroModulation.

LED Light Therapy Could Radically Change Our Treatment of Brain Disease ( VieLight results in 12 weeks )


Researchers are investigating the curious health benefits of shining light on the body, and the preliminary findings on illnesses such as Alzheimer's are nothing short of remarkable.

By Dave Roos

Published On 03/02/2017

8:30 AM EST


In December, a team of MIT neuroscientists published a remarkable study in which levels of harmful amyloid beta proteins were cut in half by exposing mice with early-stage Alzheimer's to flashing LED lights. No drugs, no surgery - just light.

For half a century, scientists have known that exposure to certain wavelengths of light can stimulate cellular function. In 1967, the Hungarian researcher Endre Mester attempted to treat cancerous tumors in rats with a low-power ruby laser. The cancer was unaffected, but the rats treated with the light waves experienced accelerated hair growth and wound healing.

Today, LEDs have replaced lasers, but researchers continue to investigate the curious health benefits of shining light on the body through a treatment method known as "photobiomodulation," or PBM.

PBM is slightly different than the technique used in the MIT study, in which researchers shined pulsed blue light into the eyes of mice in an attempt to reboot the brain's "gamma oscillation," the electrochemical frequency by which healthy neurons communicate.

With PBM, researchers use special headsets equipped with LEDs to shine pulsed red and near-infrared light on the outside of a patient's head and up through their nose. As with the MIT results, preliminary data suggest that photons of light passing through the skull trigger a biochemical chain reaction in the brain that can potentially reverse the degenerative effects of Alzheimer's as well as treat a range of other brain maladies.

RELATED: Affordable VR Will Take Immersive Therapy Mainstream  

Michael Hamblin is a professor of dermatology at the Harvard Medical School and a principal investigator at the Wellman Center for Photomedicine at Massachusetts General Hospital. He co-authored a recent study in which dementia patients with serious cognitive deficits experienced swift improvement after just 12 weeks with the VieLight Neuro, an LED headset that shines pulsed near-infrared light on five targeted areas of the brain.


The VieLight Neuro device. Credit: VieLight  

"These are people who haven't been able to speak in connected sentences for weeks or months who suddenly start having a conversation, speaking in full sentences, understanding and replying," Hamblin told Seeker. "People who had to be fed by caregivers can suddenly pick up a knife and fork and start eating their own meals. Remarkable changes."

Equally remarkable were the changes that occurred after the light treatments were stopped. The cognitive and behavioral benefits reversed almost immediately. The study called for a four-week period in which light treatments were suspended, but one patient's symptoms returned with such force that his family begged for the device back.

Scientists like Hamblin believe that PBM works by stimulating the mitochondria within cells to produce more ATP, the energy that powers cellular activity.

"The mechanisms are manifold," Hamblin explained. "Clearly you're boosting metabolism - ATP, oxygen consumption, brain energy. You're improving cerebral blood flow. But you're also stimulating the formation of new brain cells and the formation of new connections between existing brain cells. And together, these two processes comprise neuroplasticity, basically the brain's ability to reorganize itself, to repair itself."

RELATED: Light Therapy Could Protect Imperiled Bees From Pesticides  

Margaret Naeser, a research professor of neurology at the Boston University School of Medicine, studies the use of PBM headsets and helmets to treat patients with traumatic brain injuries, stroke, and military veterans suffering from Gulf War Syndrome - an unexplained illness seen among those who fought in the 1991 Gulf War that can involve dizziness, insomnia, fatigue, and headaches, among other symptoms.

Naeser is in the middle of a $2.8 million study for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to improve cognition and memory in vets using LED treatments. She explained that red light at 600 nm wavelengths and near-infrared light at 810 nm or 830 nm is absorbed by an enzyme inside cellular mitochondria called cytochrome c oxidase (CCO). In patients with brain injuries or disorders, the receptors on the CCO enzymes become clogged with nitric oxide.

"When you deliver near-infrared photons to that brain cell, the nitric oxide is pushed outside the cell wall, and that promotes increased blood flow, which is what you want in an area that's damaged," said Naeser. "And that's what we see on our MRI images, the increase in blood flow targeted to where we put the photons. I couldn't believe it. I was shocked."

In addition to priming blood flow in the brain, light treatments seem to boost the brain's autoimmune response to amyloid beta, the proteins that form the crippling plaque deposits found in Alzheimer's. In a healthy brain, immune cells called microglia are tasked with clearing out excess amyloid beta. In an Alzheimer's brain, microglia undergo a dangerous transformation. They not only stop attacking amyloid beta, but secrete a toxin that damages healthy brain cells.

In the MIT study, repeated exposure to blue light pulsing at the gamma frequency (40 Hz) appeared to train the Alzheimer's brain to return to its normal rhythm. In turn, it caused the microglia to return to their healthy state and start clearing out amyloid beta debris.

RELATED: Painless Zap to the Brain Resurfaces 'Forgotten' Memories  

Naeser explained that PBM light treatments use a different pathway to fight amyloid beta - sleep.

"You and I are building up amyloid beta all day," said Naeser. "When you go to sleep at night, the cerebrospinal fluid comes in and massages the cells in the brain to pull out amyloid beta buildup, get it into the blood vessels and wash it away."

Dementia patients sleep terribly, which disables the body's natural ability to clear out amyloid beta. Naeser noted that red and near-infrared light increase melatonin levels, and that caregivers of dementia patients receiving PBM treatments reported that the therapy greatly improved their sleeping habits.  


Credit: VieLight  

So far only a handful of small studies have put PBM to the test in treating Alzheimer's, stroke, PTSD, depression, and other brain-related disorders. The preliminary results are very promising, but Lew Lim, the founder and CEO of VieLight, said that larger and more rigorous clinical trials are needed before the FDA will approve such devices for medical use.

"Right now the VieLight Neuro is considered a general wellness device," said Lew. "For us to make a claim for Alzheimer's disease, we have to do big clinical trials. If we don't do that, the mainstream medical community is going to say it's another snake oil remedy."

Naeser, who has spent decades researching non-invasive medical treatments, including acupuncture and transcranial magnetic stimulation, said that the only way to legitimize PBM is by conducting double-blind studies that control for the placebo effect, which her current V.A. study does. Vets who sign up for the study will receive both real and "sham" treatments, and nobody - including the researchers - will know which was real or fake until the trial is complete and the data are analyzed Credibility and acceptance are likely to be the biggest obstacles facing widespread adoption of PBM. Ironically, the almost shocking simplicity and non-invasiveness of the treatments - shining light on the head for 20 minutes at a time - could be its undoing.

"In North America, if you're not a drug, you're probably not credible," said Lim. "One of the reasons that there are no big companies involved with PBM is because a lot of it is not patentable. We're one of the few with patents on this technology."  

Hamblin from the Harvard Medical School said that he could see the day when every household will own at least one PBM device. He already owns several himself to help with memory, eyesight, and even hair growth. In the short term, though, there will be challenges to funding the types of studies required for PBM to compete with conventional drug therapies.

"Poor old light therapy is like a tiny grain of sand compared to the huge boulder of big pharma," said Hamblin. "Their business model has created a billion-dollar market. How do you make a billion-dollar market out of LED light devices?"




Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 8:48 AM
Joined: 2/17/2019
Posts: 380

You have it exactly right, light therapy seem to be the solution, that is adding small amount of  safe energy to the brain via light/ the visible spectrum of electromagentic wave lengths.  Ultrasound is also helpful.  I've also seen a DAVID sound and light machine, one of their most expensive options has an extra feature that only licensed professionals can use, have a look into it, you might be able to get the treatments at a specialized alzheimer treatment clinic.  I don't understand it myself, but it seems to be applying small amounts of energy at specific points in the brain.
Posted: Monday, June 10, 2019 11:37 AM
Joined: 2/17/2019
Posts: 380

I've found a DIY brain Machine kit from Adafruit, and it is 25 USD. Being Canadian I also paid shipping and tax, but at this price, its feasible to try.