Blue light therapy may help treat traumatic brain injuries, including post-concussion syndrome
A recent preliminary study in America has found that blue-light therapy may help to treat mild traumatic brain injuries, such as post-concussion syndrome. Whilst the study was small and more research needs to be done in this area, the initial results seem very promising. This would provide patients with a non-invasive form of rehabilitation.
- Brain injury symptoms
Post-concussion syndrome refers to a range of symptoms which can occur sometime after a concussion. Patients can suffer a wide range of symptoms, with varying severity, but commonly tend to suffer difficulties with sleep, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, insomnia, memory and anxiety. There is has been a surge in research on post-concussion syndrome recently, and you may read about another study I wrote about by clicking here.
This latest study suggests that using blue light therapy can help to improve sleep, which is often affected by those suffering from brain injuries, including post-concussion syndrome. Improvement in sleep has been shown to reduce other symptoms, especially those affecting their mood.
Incredibly, Dr Killgore, a clinical neuropsychologist and lead researcher, said that about half of people who have concussion will go on to have some sleep-related issue, so the study could make a huge difference to brain injury survivors around the world.
- The study
The participants began by completing a test of their depression level, along with other symptoms including headaches, fatigue, memory and concentration.
The research found that those who used the blue light therapy rather than the placebo amber light had an improvement of 22% on the depression scale. There were also improvements noted in fatigue, concentration and irritability.
The reason blue light seems to be so effective is the way in which a receptor at the back of the eye responds to blue light. This light can help people’s body clock fall into a more natural rhythm, which in turn can help with falling asleep more easily.
According to Dr Kilgore, there is evidence that sleep can help to clear out neurotoxins and develop a type of brain cell which insulates neurons. These cells grow quicker whilst asleep which is why he believes that sleep may help the brain to repair itself quicker.
Whilst the research is still new, it is encouraging that something as relatively cheap and easy as blue light therapy could make such a big difference to all the individuals suffering with post-concussion syndrome. Future research into this area is really exciting and could give hope to those with symptoms.
It is important that individuals suffering from post-concussion syndrome receive the correct support and treatment for their injury however. Individuals should not be encouraged to try and simply self-treat with blue light devices. It is important to seek appropriate medical treatment for these symptoms and perhaps over time, with further research, light therapy will be a recommended treatment.
At Bolt Burdon Kemp we have specialist brain injury solicitors who recognise that no brain injury is the same. We assist and support both our clients and their families, whilst working hard to obtain compensation, to fund brain injury treatment which is specific to their needs. As part of our work, we fight to obtain compensation for our clients to access the treatment and care that they need.
Rehabilitation is vital after a brain injury, and finding options which are non-invasive, accessible and affordable are so important in helping millions of brain injury survivors get back on their feet.