COVID-19 & Long COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a global health crisis, causing millions of deaths and confirmed cases. Long COVID, a condition where individuals continue to experience symptoms even after recovering from COVID-19, is estimated to affect 76% of COVID-19 cases six months after the initial infection (The Lancet, 2021).
Neurological symptoms are common in COVID-19 patients, including headaches, confusion, and loss of smell and taste. Researchers are investigating the effectiveness of transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (tPBM), which uses light to stimulate brain cells, in managing neurological symptoms in COVID-19 and Long COVID patients.
A study published in Photobiomodulation, Photomedicine, and Laser Surgery investigated transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (tPBM)'s use in managing cognitive impairment in 20 long COVID patients who received the therapy and 20 patients who did not. The study found that transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (tPBM) significantly improved cognitive function in long COVID patients as measured by the Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) test.
You can learn more about the specifics of this study on this video:
Overall, transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (tPBM) shows potential in managing neurological symptoms in COVID-19 and Long COVID patients. Its ability to stimulate the brain and improve neurological function makes it an attractive therapy option for individuals experiencing cognitive impairment and other neurological symptoms due to COVID-19.
Check out more studies on PBM for Long COVID below:
A 2023 study involved 14 subjects with Long COVID symptoms that included slowed thinking and reactions, mental fatigue, confusion, and impaired verbal articulation. The subjects were randomly assigned to tPBM treatment using the Neuradiant 1070 or the NovoTHOR Whole Body Light. Both groups received three 14-minute PBM treatments per week for 4 weeks. The study results showed significant improvement in the subjects' cognition, executive functions, processing speed, and self-reported level of improvement.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Clinical Neuroscience, 30 COVID-19 patients with mild to moderate neurological symptoms received transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (tPBM) while another 30 patients did not. The study found that transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (tPBM) significantly improved neurological symptoms in COVID-19 patients without adverse effects.
PBM reduced the risk of severe body reactions like inflammation, breathing problems, organ failure, nerve damage, and blood clotting that are related to COVID-19.
Kitchen, L.C. et al. (2022) suggest that photobiomodulation therapy with a specific wavelength (1068 nm) could be helpful in protecting cells, reducing inflammation, improving blood flow, and regulating certain proteins. The researchers propose that PBMT 1068 nm could be a useful and safe approach to prevent severe illness in COVID-19 patients.
1. Kitchen LC, Berman M, Halper J, Chazot P. Rationale for 1068 nm Photobiomodulation Therapy (PBMT) as a Novel, Non-Invasive Treatment for COVID-19 and Other Coronaviruses: Roles of NO and Hsp70. Int J Mol Sci. 2022 May 7;23(9):5221. doi: 10.3390/ijms23095221. PMID: 35563611; PMCID: PMC9105035. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9105035/
2. Sabino C.P., Ball A.R., Baptista M.S., Dai T., Hamblin M.R., Ribeiro M.S., Santos A.L., Sellera F.P., Tegos G.P., Wainwright M. Light-based technologies for management of COVID-19 pandemic crisis. J. Photochem. Photobiol. B Biol. 2020;212:111999. doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2020.111999. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7435279/
3. Sigman S.A., Mokmeli S., Monici M., Vetrici M.A. A 57-year-old african american man with severe COVID-19 pneumonia who responded to supportive photobiomodulation therapy (PBMT): First use of PBMT in COVID-19. Am. J. Case Rep. 2020;21:e926779. doi: 10.12659/AJCR.926779. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7449510/
4. Soheilifar S., Fathi H., Naghdi N. Photobiomodulation therapy as a high potential treatment modality for COVID-19. Lasers Med. Sci. 2020;2020:935–938. doi: 10.1007/s10103-020-03206-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7688201/
5. Vetrici M.A., Mokmeli S., Bohm A.R., Monici M., Sigman S.A. Evaluation of adjunctive photobiomodulation (PBMT) for COVID-19 pneumonia via clinical status and pulmonary severity indices in a preliminary trial. J. Inflamm. Res. 2021;14:965–979. doi: 10.2147/JIR.S301625. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7989376/
Continue reading below to learn more about photobiomodulation on a cellular level and understand the difference between wavelength and frequency.