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Infrared therapy for chronic low back pain: A randomized, controlled trial

George D Gale, MBBS FRCA FRCPC DAAPM,1 Peter J Rothbart, MD FRCPC,1 and Ye Li2

Objective

The objective of the present study was to assess the degree of pain relief obtained by applying infrared (IR) energy to the low back in patients with chronic, intractable low back pain.

Results

Conclusions

The IR therapy unit used was demonstrated to be effective in reducing chronic low back pain, and no adverse effects were observed.

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Acute Effects of Near Infrared Light Therapy on Brain State in Healthy Subjects as Quantified by qEEG Measures

Objective

Recent investigation suggests that near infrared (NIR) light may improve symptoms from mild traumatic brain injury. In addition, quantitative electroencephalography (qEEG) has shown measures correlating with concussion: P300, reaction time, and amplitude. The objective of this study was to determine whether NIR light treatment has an acute effect on brain state in healthy patients as measured by EEG.

Results

Change in reaction time significantly differed between treated and control, with a mean of 23.8 msec improvement compared with controls (p = 0.035). Amplitude increased an average of 0.81 μV in treatment versus 0.22 μV in controls and did not reach significance. However, subanalysis of 14 treated subjects and 8 controls displaying initially low amplitude showed a mean increase in amplitude of 1.83 μV (30%) in treated subjects versus 0 μV in controls (p = 0.08). P300 measures did not show significant differences between groups.

Conclusions

The data suggest that NIR light may have an acute effect on reaction time and amplitude in certain subject subsets. There were no adverse events registered across the 31 subjects in the treatment group, nor in the 18 evaluable control group subjects.

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Photobiomodulation: The Clinical Applications of Low-Level Light Therapy

Objective

The aim of this article was to summarize the clinical evidence for photobiomodulation and discuss the regulatory framework for this therapy.

Results

A reasonable body of clinical trial evidence exists to support the role of low-energy red/near-infrared light as a safe and effective method of skin rejuvenation, treatment of acne vulgaris and alopecia, and, especially, body contouring. Methodologic flaws, small patient cohorts, and industry funding mean there is ample scope to improve the quality of evidence. It remains unclear if light-emitting diode sources induce physiologic effects of compararable nature and magnitude to those of the laser-based systems used in most of the higher-quality studies.

Conclusions

LLLT is here to stay. However, its ubiquity and commercial success have outpaced empirical approaches on which solid clinical evidence is established. Thus, the challenge is to prove its therapeutic utility in retrospect. Well-designed, adequately powered, independent clinical trials will help us answer some of the unresolved questions and enable the potential of this therapy to be realized.

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Low-level red plus near infrared lights combination induces expressions of collagen and elastin in human skin in vitro

Objective

Light therapy has attracted medical interests as a safe, alternative treatment for photo-ageing and photo-damaged skin. Recent research suggested the therapeutic activity of red and infrared (IR) lights may be effective at much lower energy levels than those used clinically. This study was to evaluate the efficacy of low-level red plus near IR light emitting diode (LED) combination on collagen and elastin and ATP production.

Results

Treatment of human fibroblast cell cultures with low-level red plus near IR lights combination was found to significantly increase LOXL1, ELN and COL1A1 and COL3A1 gene expressions as well as the synthesis of the procollagen type I and elastin proteins. Treating human skin explants with low-level red plus near IR lights combination similarly induced significant increases in the same gene expressions, type III collagen and elastic fibre formation and crosslinks. ATP production was increased in human dermal fibroblasts after red plus near IR lights combination treatment.

Conclusions

Low-level red plus near IR lights combination stimulated the production of collagen and elastin production associated with anti-ageing benefits. These findings suggest that low-level red plus near IR LED light combination may provide an effective treatment opportunity for people with photo-aged skin.

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Effects of Infrared Radiation on Skin Photo-Aging and Pigmentation

Objective

 medical evaluation of the patients indicated that roughness and laxity were fairly improved, but there was no significant improvement in hyperpigmented lesions. Histological examination failed to reveal any differences as well. These results suggest that infrared radiation may have beneficial effects on skin texture and wrinkles by increasing collagen and elastin contents from the stimulated fibroblasts. Therefore, skin treatment with infrared radiation may be an effective and safe non-ablative remodeling method, and may also be useful in the treatment of photo-aged skin.

Results

Total soluble collagen was increased 2 hours after IR radiation exposure, relative to controls, and total content increased with the duration of IR radiation exposure (Fig. 1); the results were an average of three measurements. 

Conclusions

Infrared (IR) radiation is an invisible portion of the electromagnetic spectrum adjacent to the long wavelength of the visible light range and extends to the microwave range.

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