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. 2017 Aug;35(8):432-441.
doi: 10.1089/pho.2016.4227. Epub 2017 Feb 10.

Significant Improvement in Cognition in Mild to Moderately Severe Dementia Cases Treated With Transcranial Plus Intranasal Photobiomodulation: Case Series Report

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Free PMC article

Significant Improvement in Cognition in Mild to Moderately Severe Dementia Cases Treated With Transcranial Plus Intranasal Photobiomodulation: Case Series Report

Anita E Saltmarche et al. Photomed Laser Surg. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Objective: This study investigated whether patients with mild to moderately severe dementia or possible Alzheimer's disease (AD) with Mini-Mental State Exam (MMSE) Baseline scores of 10-24 would improve when treated with near-infrared photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy.

Background: Animal studies have presented the potential of PBM for AD. Dysregulation of the brain's default mode network (DMN) has been associated with AD, presenting the DMN as an identifiable target for PBM.

Materials and methods: The study used 810 nm, 10 Hz pulsed, light-emitting diode devices combining transcranial plus intranasal PBM to treat the cortical nodes of the DMN (bilateral mesial prefrontal cortex, precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex, angular gyrus, and hippocampus). Five patients with mild to moderately severe cognitive impairment were entered into 12 weeks of active treatment as well as a follow-up no-treatment, 4-week period. Patients were assessed with the MMSE and Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale (ADAS-cog) tests. The protocol involved weekly, in-clinic use of a transcranial-intranasal PBM device; and daily at-home use of an intranasal-only device.

Results: There was significant improvement after 12 weeks of PBM (MMSE, p < 0.003; ADAS-cog, p < 0.023). Increased function, better sleep, fewer angry outbursts, less anxiety, and wandering were reported post-PBM. There were no negative side effects. Precipitous declines were observed during the follow-up no-treatment, 4-week period. This is the first completed PBM case series to report significant, cognitive improvement in mild to moderately severe dementia and possible AD cases.

Conclusions: Results suggest that larger, controlled studies are warranted. PBM shows potential for home treatment of patients with dementia and AD.

Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; LED; LLLT; dementia; intranasal; photobiomodulation; transcranial.

Conflict of interest statement

A.E.S and K.F.H. were paid consultants for the study. L.L. was the Founder and CEO of Vielight, Inc. M.A.N. and M.R.H. had no financial or conflicting interest.

Figures

<b>FIG. 1.</b>
FIG. 1.
Photographs of Vielight “810” and “Neuro” illustrating correct device positions for treatment, and corresponding targeted network hubs. (a) Vielight “810.” (b) Vielight “Neuro,” left view. (c) Vielight “Neuro,” right view. (d) Targeted default mode network nodes: (1) Mesial prefrontal cortex, (2) Precuneus, (3) Posterior cingulate cortex, (4) Inferior parietal lobe, and (5) Hippocampus.
<b>FIG. 2.</b>
FIG. 2.
Mean change from baseline in MMSE scores. Higher numbers indicate better cognition on this test. *The p value for week 16 is omitted due to missing data from a patient who dropped out during the “4-Week, No-Treatment Period.” MMSE, Mini-Mental State Exam.
<b>FIG. 3.</b>
FIG. 3.
Mean change from baseline in ADAS-cog scores. Lower numbers indicate better cognition on this test. *The p value for week 16 is omitted due to missing data from a patient who dropped out during the “4-Week, No-Treatment Period.” ADAS-cog, Alzheimer's disease assessment scale-cognitive subscale.

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