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Let there be Light!

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

Back in December 2016, I first listened to a RadioLab Podcast called “Bringing Gamma Back”. The story covered MIT researchers who discovered that a pulsed gamma wave light could reverse 50% of brain plaques in a mouse model in just one hour. Both Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are protein misfolding disorders. And gamma light mimics the brain’s natural rhythm, which can help to reduce inflammation. It was an amazing story that got us looking deeper into light therapies and how they might also help with Parkinson’s.

Australian and French researchers collaborated in a study that started to look at how near infra-red light can help alleviate Parkinson's symptoms. Near infrared light is said to reduce pain, inflammation, heal wounds, and improve immunity. It is used in a variety of treatments and saunas.

In the study, an infra-red light is implanted in the part of the brain that degenerates in PD.

This method is called deep brain stimulation. This is different from the electrical DBS stimulation that is a more common surgical therapy in Parkinson’s. The researchers don’t yet know how or why it works, but early studies have seemed promising. Some have even shown that it can slow the death of neurons.

John has been testing a prototype of a light "cap" from engineers at a local University. He wears the cap two times a day at different light frequencies and intensity levels, recording his observations on how it impacts his daily activities.

Exposure to sunlight, Vitamin D, and Parkinson’s

And what about sunlight? Population research suggests that more than 50% of the population suffers from low levels of Vitamin D. In May 2020, a researcher from the University of Colorado published a review on the relationship between Vitamin D levels and Parkinson’s. Over the past 100 years, we have moved from outside jobs working on farms to more indoor activities out of the daily sun. While there is no clear cut evidence that this is a specific cause of Parkinson’s, the evidence supports the fact that healthy Vitamin D levels lead to increased longevity. You can also see how low Vitamin D levels and the circadian clock are connected to sunlight on my blog post on sleep.

It is interesting to see this subject come back around. Some of my reading interests if you are interested in digging in a bit deeper:

Getting more sunshine is easy and it’s free! So get outside on a daily basis and get some light!

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2 Yorum

Hi Martha,

how has your husband's PD responded to the red light therapy? Which frequencies does his cap use and is it one of the pulsed ones?

Catherine Hamilton who is one of the authors of the paper quoted in that Science article has a blog

Catherine and a group of volunteers in Tasmania have been making LED light hats for Parkinson's patients. They have many reports of improvements in PD symptoms from the users. They've also found that too long exposures can actually worsen the symptoms - some patients would doze off while wearing the hats and wind up getting several hours exposure. As well as the anecdotal reports the blog also contains links to scientific papers on…


Liz Easterly
Liz Easterly
04 Oca 2021

I have been doing red- light therapy for over a year now. I'm not sure how it works - I just know it does!! I try to get in my friend Ken's REGEN-8 beds (picture a tanning bed )at least once a week and preferably every. other day. Each session lasts 14 minutes, and you can do that once a day, more time does not give more benefit. Red-light therapy helps. me with balance as well as motivation (in overcoming the dreaded apathy). When I miss a few too many days, I start falling! It has programs ranging from a PD protocol, to tackling Iinflammation, to Happiness/ Lightphoria. And the effects are cumulative!

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