Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that affects the central nervous system and parts of the body controlled by the nerves.
PD is caused by loss of nerve cells in the region of the brain called substantia nigra. Nerve cells in this region of the brain are responsible for producing a neurotransmitter called dopamine. Dopamine acts as a messenger between the parts of the brain and nervous system that help control and coordinate body movements. If these nerve cells die or become damaged, the amount of dopamine in the brain is reduced. This means the part of the brain controlling movement cannot work as well as normal, causing movements to become slow and abnormal.
The symptoms of Parkinson's disease usually only start to develop when around 50% of the nerve cell activity in the substantia nigra have been lost.
According to the NHS, more than 10 million people worldwide are living with PD. The incidence of PD increases with age, but an estimated 4% of people are diagnosed before age 50. It is also possible that the current COVID-19 pandemic may result in an increased incidence of PD in the future.
Unfortunately, no cure has been found for PD, and few treatment options are available.
However, photobiomodulation has been successfully used in animal models and to reduce the signs of PD and to protect dopaminergic neurons. Moreover, recent clinical trials have shown that photobiomodulation can be an effective treatment method for individuals diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, as it has shown to improve measures of mobility, cognition, dynamic balance and fine motor skill.
- Treatment of Neurodegeneration: Integrating Photobiomodulation and Neurofeedback in Alzheimer's Dementia and Parkinson's: A Review, Marvin H Berman, Trent W Nichols, 2019 Link
- Improvements in clinical signs of Parkinson’s disease using photobiomodulation: a prospective proof-of-concept study Liebert, Ann ; Bicknell, Brian ; Laakso, E-Liisa ; Heller, Gillian ; Jalilitabaei, Parastoo ; Tilley, Sharon ; Mitrofanis, John ; Kiat, Hosen, 2021 Link
- Photobiomodulation in Parkinson's disease: A randomized controlled trial Santos, Luis; Olmo-Aguado, Susana del; Valenzuela, Pedro L.; Winge, Kristian; Iglesias-Soler, Eliseo; Argüelles-Luis, Juan; Álvarez-Valle, Samuel; Parcero-Iglesias, Guillermo J.; Fernández-Martínez, Ana; Lucia, Alejandro 2019 Link
- Protocol for randomized controlled trial to evaluate the safety and feasibility of a novel helmet to deliver transcranial light emitting diodes photobiomodulation therapy to patients with Parkinson’s disease McGee, Claire; Liebert, Ann; Herkes, Geoffrey; Bicknell, Brian; Pang, Vincent; et al. 2022 Link
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