Brain Stimulation

brainA new intranasal light therapy device that lets access the brain with light through the nasal cavity has just came out. The idea of healing the brain with light is not new. There is a neurological tongue twisting term for it: neurophotobiostimulation. There is some wonderful research done by my friends Margaret Naeser of Boston University and Michael Hamblin of Harvard Medical School using the transcranial method i.e. accessing the brain through the skull as well as there are some landmark studies done on animals. These and other studies form large part of bases using which we have designed our new intranasal brain stimulation device, and they are accessible here as well as a full and transparent exposition on how we have come up with parameters and charasteristics for this device.

Up to now early results do look both really interesting and promising, they are anecdotal, but not completely unexpected. Both post stroke and Parkinson’s patients are providing us with promising feedbacks. There are a nubmer of indications that it could also be stimulating the pituitary gland that releases some amount of growth hormone. And Dr. Alkalay of New York is starting to work with Alzheimer’s patients.

Other already existing devices that use shorter laser wavelengths of 633 nm and 655 nm laser have already benefitted post stroke patients, Parkinson’s patients, those who have some sort of sleep disorders etc. Speaking in scientific terms this new device with a longer near infrared wavelength of 810 nm, pulsing at 10 Hz should be more efficacious. It is all explained in the paper on intranasal light therapy and brain stimulation.

The pulse mode of 10 Hz is the most interesting aspect. Based on researches involving mice conducted by Hamblin’s research group exposure to light at 810 nm and pulsing at 10 Hz induces the greatest neurological healing in the brain that had previously suffered a traumatic brain injury. Why that happens is also a matter of hypothesis. It is the frequency that straddles between the brain oscillations (cerebral cortex) in the alpha state when our brain is at rest or in a meditative state or in the hippocampal theta state, which may help us with behaviour inhibition. There are some claims that serotonin is released in this state, which would help with treating such conditions as depression.

Use of the wavelength of 810 nm demonstrates a deeper tissue penetration i.e. reaching deeper areas of the brain without falling outside the safe range that would draw mitochondrial response i.e. within the action spectra. It simply makes sense that this would help cover more areas of the brain particularly more ancient parts of the brain which happen to reside at the lower sections and closer to the nasal cavity. However, at this wavelength the light is invisible to the naked eye and users are informed of this aspect so that they don't think that the device is broken.

This is an exciting time because this therapy opens up new possibilities for treating brain condtions. It is still early to say anything certain, but in the worst case scenario as many of you would have already found out low level laser light therapy like this one carries no harm or side effects. It may produce some very good results for the brain treatment, or perhaps it may help make us smarter!