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A Spectrum of Hope: Light Therapy’s Role in Brain Development and Combating Degeneration

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The brain’s capacity for change is not limited to recovery from injury; it extends into every stage of life, from development to the twilight years. Light therapy, specifically low-level light therapy (LLLT), is emerging as a non-invasive modality with the potential to support brain development and slow down degenerative changes.

Recent research has illuminated the benefits of LLLT in enhancing brain connectivity following injury, as demonstrated by a study from Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) (1). This promising therapy uses near-infrared light to penetrate the skull, stimulating mitochondrial function and increasing the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the energy currency of cells (2). This boost in ATP is crucial for supporting the brain’s energy demands during development and for fostering the repair and regeneration of neural pathways.

Moreover, light therapy’s influence extends beyond recovery. Exposure to higher levels of light has been shown to improve cognitive performance, likely by modulating the activity of the hypothalamus, a brain region integral to various functions including growth and development (3). This suggests that controlled light exposure could be a key factor in optimizing brain development and reducing degeneration.

In the realm of neurodegenerative diseases, light therapy offers a glimmer of hope. Controlled exposure to specific wavelengths of light has been proposed as a therapeutic alternative for conditions like Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD), where it may help mitigate cognitive and sleep disorders associated with these diseases (4). The therapeutic effects of light therapy, such as reducing inflammation and promoting blood flow in the brain, could potentially slow the progression of degenerative changes (5).

Dr. Dani Ruf, Brain-Focused Chiropractor, Functional Neurology, Meraki Chiropractic PLLC, 13JUN2024

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