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Can Light Therapy Treat Traumatic Brain Injuries?

Traumatic brain injuries leave our clients sidelined with headaches, dizziness, and impaired coordination or balance. Unable to think clearly or remain active, many of them stay in bed for months before their symptoms begin to resolve.

Fortunately, doctors are continuing to learn new treatments that might speed recovery. As the Harvard Crimson notes, research out of Massachusetts General Hospital has shown that low-level light therapy (LLLT) is a promising treatment for those with traumatic brain injuries (TBIs).

Current Treatment for TBIs

Currently, those suffering from a TBI usually must wait for the injury to heal on its own. Doctors recommend resting a patient’s brain, e.g., not using a computer for too long and avoiding video games or anything that is too taxing. They also discourage heavy physical activity, which can increase the chances of suffering another TBI so soon after the first.

However, there are no pills or other treatments that will alleviate the underlying condition. Patients can treat symptoms, such as sleeplessness or anxiety, but they usually feel aftereffects for months, if not years. Doctors currently do not know enough about how TBIs impact the brain to develop targeted treatment. Any promising treatment should be looked at seriously.

Demonstrable Effect on Brain Functioning

This is what makes low-level light therapy so promising. Researchers at Mass General enlisted 68 participants for their trial and used a helmet outfitted with clusters of LED lights. These lights dispersed energy evenly over the scalp, though the lights did not come into contact with the scalp.

The treatment lasted for four years, and scientist were surprised to see that there was a measurable effect on healing. However, they are not entirely sure the mechanism that explains why it works. Studies using animals suggest it impacts the blood vessels in the brain and improves blood flow.

Nevertheless, doctors emphasized that the sample size was so small that the measured improvement could simply be “noise.” This means that it is up to a future study to try and replicate the results if there is sufficient funding for more studies.

Are You Struggling with a Brain Injury?

Traumatic brain injuries cost injured victims thousands of dollars in lost income and in medical expenses. Let us advocate for you. At Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP, our personal injury attorneys can negotiate a settlement that covers your financial losses and provides a reasonable sum for pain and suffering. If you call 305-371-2692, you can schedule a free consultation.