Treatment of Neurodegeneration: Integrating Photobiomodulation and Neurofeedback in Alzheimer's Dementia and Parkinson's: A Review

Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. 2019 Oct;37(10):623-634. doi: 10.1089/photob.2019.4685.


Objective: A review of photobiomodulation (PBM) in Alzheimer's dementia is submitted. The addition of PBM in neurodegenerative diseases is a dual modality that is at present gaining traction as it is safe, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory for treating neurodegeneration with photons that stimulate mitochondria increasing adenosine triphosphate and proteasomes increasing misfolded protein removal. Neurofeedback provides neural plasticity with an increase in brain-derived nerve factor mRNA and an increase in dendrite production and density in the hippocampus coupled with overall growth in dendrites, density, and neuronal survival. Background: Alzheimer's disease pathophysiology is the accumulation of hyperphosphorylated tau protein neurofibrillary tangles and subsequently amyloid-beta (Aβ) plaques. PBM and neurobiofeedback (NBF)address the multiple gene expression and upregulation of multiple pathogenic pathway inflammation, reactive oxidative stress, mitochondrial disorders, insulin resistance, methylation defects, regulation of neuroprotective factors, and regional hypoperfusion of the brain. There is no human evidence to suggest a clinical therapeutic benefit from using consistent light sources while significantly increasing safety concerns. Methods: A PBM test with early- to mid-Alzheimer's was reported in 2017, consisting of a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in a small pilot group of early- to mid-dementia subjects under Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Clinical Trial. Results: PBM-treated subjects showed that active treatment subjects tended to show greater improvement in the functioning of the executive: clock drawing, immediate recall, practical memory, and visual attention and task switching (Trails A&B). A larger study using the CerebroLite helmet in Temple Texas again of subjects in a double-blind, placebo-controlled IRB-approved FDA Clinical Trial demonstrated gain in memory and cognition by increased clock drawing. Conclusions: Next-generation trials with the Cognitolite for Parkinson's disease subjects will incorporate the insights regarding significant bilateral occipital hypocoherence deficits gained from the quantitative EEG analyses. Future applications will integrate noninvasive stimulation delivery, including full-body and transcranial and infrared light with pulsed electromagnetic frequencies.

Keywords: Alzheimer's dementia; Parkinson's disease; electroencephalogram; mitochondrial ATP upregulation; neurobiofeedback; neurofeedback training; photobiomodulation; photomedicine; quantitative EEG.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / therapy*
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low-Level Light Therapy / methods*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / diagnosis
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / therapy*
  • Neurofeedback / methods*
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / therapy*
  • Risk Assessment
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Treatment Outcome