Transcranial low level laser (light) therapy for traumatic brain injury

J Biophotonics. 2012 Nov;5(11-12):827-37. doi: 10.1002/jbio.201200077. Epub 2012 Jul 17.


We review the use of transcranial low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) as a possible treatment for traumatic-brain injury (TBI). The basic mechanisms of LLLT at the cellular and molecular level and its effects on the brain are outlined. Many interacting processes may contribute to the beneficial effects in TBI including neuroprotection, reduction of inflammation and stimulation of neurogenesis. Animal studies and clinical trials of transcranial-LLLT for ischemic stroke are summarized. Several laboratories have shown that LLLT is effective in increasing neurological performance and memory and learning in mouse models of TBI. There have been case report papers that show beneficial effects of transcranial-LLLT in a total of three patients with chronic TBI. Our laboratory has conducted three studies on LLLT and TBI in mice. One looked at pulsed-vs-continuous wave laser-irradiation and found 10 Hz to be superior. The second looked at four different laser-wavelengths (660, 730, 810, and 980 nm); only 660 and 810 nm were effective. The last looked at different treatment repetition regimens (1, 3 and 14-daily laser-treatments).

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Injuries / radiotherapy*
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Skull*
  • Stroke / radiotherapy