Episode #14: Lighting up the Brain – Photobiomodulation meets Neurofeedback

Jan 1, 2018

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Dr Marvin Berman recieved his PhD in Psychoeducational Processes. He is trained in Bioenergetic Analysis and is trained in numerous other therapeutic interventions including EEG biofeedback and the Feldenkrais methodologies. He consults with senior executives and management teams on the application of cognitive neuroscience in leadership development and performance. Recently, he is exploring the application of EEG biofeedback and related technologies into the treatment of neuropsychological and neurodegenerative disorders including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s.

An Unexpected Synergy with Dr Marvin Berman:

In Alzheimer’s disease the brain shrinks over time. Certain forms of light energy may help defeat this problem.  Near infrared wavelengths are particularly good because not only do they travel deeper into tissues; they are not lost by being absorbed by blood and water before they reach the brain.  

On this show we talk about two different and distinct technologies on this episode. One is Photobiomodulation the other is Neurofeedback. Neurofeedback we have talked about with Drs Majid Fotuhi (episode 3) and Dr David Merrill (episode 9).

Photobiomodulation (PBM) introduces certain frequencies of light.  The light has an impact on the brain’s mitochondria. Institutions like Harvard, Standford and MIT all have and continue to explore Photobiomodulation.  There are LED lights that are placed on head or shined into the nose and they seem to do a several beneficial things.  To be clear, the signaling within the (brain) tissue  takes place as a result of exposure to light (photonic) energy.

The Key players in the PBM story are 1) Cytochrome C oxidase (substance that absorbs light) 2) ATP (energy and healing) 3) Reactive Oxygen Species – mild oxidant that signals cellular repair  4) Nitric Oxide (increases blood flow)

Mitochondria have a substance called the cytochrome oxidase that can absorb red and near infrared light and convert the enregy into a form of bilogical energy called ATP.  Part of what ATP does is lead to healing and tissue repair. The process – among other things- generates a mild level oxidant (ROS) which acts as a signaling molecule to activate transcription factors that lead to tissue repair. Some people see this as a “redox” signaling molecule. Herein is where the physical healing can be accelerated when photonic therapies (red and near infrared light) is introduces.

Another important player is Nitric oxide (NO) – if it sits in the cell it “clogs” the respiratory chain that leads to ATP production. PBM frees the NO back into the body and restors the function fo the respiratory chain. Then it takes on an impotant wide ranging role of improving nerve function and improving circulation by relaxing the blood vessel walls.

Dr Berman explains how he connected Neurofeedback and PBM in the development of a comprehensive treatment model.

He explains the use of light frequency of 1060-1080nm.

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