Objective: To examine the effects of transcranial and intranasal photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy, administered at home, in patients with dementia. Background: This study sought to replicate and build upon a previously published case series report describing improved cognitive function in five patients with mild-to-moderate dementia after 12 weeks of transcranial and intranasal near-infrared (NIR) PBM therapy. Materials and methods: Eight participants (mean age: 79.8 ± 5.8 years old) diagnosed with dementia by their physicians were randomized to 12 weeks of usual care (UC, n = 4) or home PBM treatments (n = 4). The NIR PBM treatments were administered by a study partner at home three times per week with the Vielight Neuro Gamma device. The participants were assessed with the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-cognitive (ADAS-cog) subscale and the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) at baseline and 6 and 12 weeks, and with arterial spin-labeled perfusion magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and resting-state functional MRI at baseline and 12 weeks. Results: At baseline, the UC and PBM groups did not differ demographically or clinically. However, after 12 weeks, there were improvements in ADAS-cog (group × time interaction: F1,6 = 16.35, p = 0.007) and NPI (group × time interaction: F1,6 = 7.52, p = 0.03), increased cerebral perfusion (group × time interaction: F1,6 = 8.46, p < 0.03), and increased connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and lateral parietal nodes within the default-mode network in the PBM group. Conclusions: Because PBM was well tolerated and associated with no adverse side effects, these results support the potential of PBM therapy as a viable home treatment for individuals with dementia.
Keywords: Alzheimer's disease; LED; dementia; neuroimaging; photobiomodulation.