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Photobiomodulation: Laser Therapy for the Nervous System

Presenter: Dr. Juanita J. Anders

The use of “low level” light applications, termed photobiomodulation (PBM), as a noninvasive, neuro-restorative therapy has potential to revolutionize repair of the injured nervous system. Experiments on the use of PBM to repair injured spinal cords and peripheral nerves will be discussed, along with the scientific basis for this improvement.

Light applied transcutaneously penetrates to the level of the spinal cord. Transmission spectra revealed that peak transmission through all tissue layers overlying the spinal cord was at 810 nm, with minimal absorption by blood and water. Axonal regeneration and functional recovery in various models of spinal cord injury was supported by 810 nm wavelength light. Genes involved in the immune response, cellular proliferation and growth factor receptors were significantly altered by PBM after spinal cord injury.

Recent data on transcranial light penetration into human cadaver brains will be presented, along with a review of current preclinical and clinical transcranial light applications for brain injury. Peripheral nerve injury results in chronic loss of sensation and motor function. PBM supports statistically significant improvements in nerve regeneration and functional behavior.

These findings will be presented along with a discussion of current misconceptions concerning wavelengths and laser parameters used for PBM of the nervous system.

Published February 19, 2015, Photonics Media, photonics.com

About the presenter

Dr. Juanita J. Anders

Dr. Juanita J. Anders is a professor of anatomy, physiology and genetics and professor of neuroscience at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. She received her doctorate in anatomy from the University of Maryland Medical School and specializes in peripheral and central nervous system injury and repair mechanisms and light-tissue interactions. She is recognized as an expert in light therapy and has been invited to speak at and chair sessions at numerous international laser conferences. Dr. Anders serves on the executive councils and scientific advisory boards of several laser societies. She is the past president of the North American Association of Laser Therapy, a founding member of the International Academy of Laser Medicine and Surgery, and current president of the American Society for Laser Medicine and Surgery. She serves on the editorial boards of Photomedicine and Laser Surgery, Lasers in Surgery and Medicine, Lasers in Medical Science and Physiotherapy Practice and Research, and has published more than 70 peer-reviews articles.

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