DOI: 10.3390/photonics11030260 ISSN: 2304-6732

Transcranial Photobiomodulation and Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury

Naomi L. Gaggi, Nathaniel Lewis Roy, Xiaotong Song, Anna Leigh Peterson, Dan V. Iosifescu, Ramon Diaz-Arrastia, Paolo Cassano, Junghoon J. Kim
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Instrumentation
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a common cause of neurologic morbidity for which few effective therapies exist, especially during the chronic stage. A potential therapy for chronic TBI is transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM). tPBM is a noninvasive neuromodulation technique that uses light to stimulate the cortex and increase blood flow and metabolism while also enhancing cognition and improving affect. There has been much work focusing on the efficacy of tPBM in acute TBI in small animals, but much less work has focused on chronic TBI. Patients with chronic TBI manifest microvascular injury, which may serve as a modifiable treatment target for tPBM. There is a need to study and improve tPBM, as the currently implemented protocols targeting microvascular injury have been relatively unsuccessful. This review includes 16 studies, which concluded that after tPBM application, there were improvements in neuropsychological outcomes in addition to increases in cerebral blood flow. However, these conclusions are confounded by differing tPBM parameters, small sample sizes, and heterogenous TBI populations. While these results are encouraging, there is a need to further understand the therapeutic potential of tPBM in chronic TBI.

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