Neuropsychiatric Conditions - Depression and Anxiety

According to Hopkins Medicine, 9.5% of adults over the age of 18 suffer from depressive illness each year, with a lifetime prevalence of 16%. Additionally, around 18% of people ages 18-54 have an anxiety disorder episode in a given year, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). The prevalence of mood and anxiety disorders reveal their public health significance and the need to find effective and accessible treatments.

Many animal and human studies have reported the beneficial effects from the application of near-infrared PBM to improve the psychological status of patients with major depression and anxiety. 

Studies reviewed and described below provide strong evidence that suggest the mechanism of PBM (increasing mitochondrial activity and energy production, increasing regional blood flow) has a downstream effect of not only ATP production, but also potentially increases intercellular signaling and connectivity.

Additionally, serotonin (5-HT) plays a key role in the neurochemistry of anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders. Nitric oxide (NO) is also a neurotransmitter that affects synaptic plasticity, neurogenesis, transmission,  and inflammation in the central nervous system (CNS). Interestingly, a study by Eshaghi, Emad et al. showed that PBM is linked with increasing 5-HT and decreasing NO levels in animal models.

Related Research

  • Psychological benefits 2 and 4 weeks after a single treatment with near infrared light to the forehead: a pilot study of 10 patients with major depression and anxiety Fredric Schiffer 1, Andrea L Johnston, Caitlin Ravichandran, Ann Polcari, Martin H Teicher, Robert H Webb, Michael R Hamblin 2009 Link
  • Transcranial photobiomodulation prevents anxiety and depression via changing serotonin and nitric oxide levels in brain of depression model mice: A study of three different doses of 810 nm laser Emad Eshaghi MSc,Saeed Sadigh-Eteghad PhD,Gisou Mohaddes PhD,Seyed Hossein Rasta PhD 2019 Link
  • Transcranial Photobiomodulation For The Management Of Depression: Current Perspectives Paula Askalsky and Dan V Iosifescu. 2019 Link
  • Photobiomodulation Therapy Ameliorates Glutamatergic Dysfunction in Mice with Chronic Unpredictable Mild Stress-Induced Depression Di Zhang,  Qi Shen, Xiaolei Wu, Da Xing, Stella Vieira. 2021 Link

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