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Low-level laser therapy: an emerging clinical paradigm

  1. Sep 1, 2012 #1
    Say, has anybody ever heard of this stuff?

    http://spie.org/x35504.xml

    It seems that certain specific frequencies/wavelengths in the near-IR band can have a very pronounced effect on parts of the cell, like mitochondria and on production of ATP and ROS.

    So is it conceivably possible to intimately affect biochemical pathways in the body, by bathing it in light of the correct frequency/wavelength? If so, then that really sounds like quite a disruptive approach.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2012 #2
    Re: Photomedicine

    Your skin is opaque to those wavelengths I believe and even if not, much of the light is reflected/absorbed by the skin surface. That means the metabolizing cells are not getting the light.
     
  4. Sep 1, 2012 #3
    Re: Photomedicine

    I read that the melanin in the skin absorbs somewhere near 820 nm, and that the longer 904 nm can pass through. Even if some is reflected, pulsed power can allow enough energy to get through while avoiding excessive heat buildup.

    What I find elegant and appealing about this whole photonic approach is that this near-IR wavelength light will transparently pass into the body like a ghost, reaching the target sites unobstructed and conceivably from all angles. This is in contrast to a drug or biomolecule which has to travel down the circulatory system and then through membrane barriers just to get to the target sites inside the cells. These near-IR photons should be an ideal way to maximize the coupling interaction.

    What I was thinking about was the beam divergence. Many laser-emitting devices have a high beam divergence, which is normally considered undesirable, but from the standpoint of whole-body treatment this could actually be quite desirable, because it would allow the beam cross-section to expand to cover significant portions of a person's body.

    Hey moderators, I didn't realize you had a medical science forum - can you please somehow transfer this thread over there?
     
    Last edited: Sep 1, 2012
  5. Sep 10, 2012 #4
    Re: Photomedicine

    Interesting. I reckon this could have a profound impact on the ability of neurons to form new connections

    chill_factor: The body could be injected with a fluorescent compound that emits visible light when irradiated with a penetrating frequency of EM radiation such as x-rays. Subjecting the body to penetrating radiation causes its fair share of adverse effects though so that may not be a viable approach. From what I read, in situations, radioisotopes can be safely introduced to the body so maybe they could be administered with the fluorescent compound. A phosphorescent compound might work too.
     
  6. Apr 12, 2013 #5
    This is interesting. My write uses an infrared device for her cold sores that is more effective than any medication for clearing the sore quickly. Supposedly excites something in the cells. It is a bit longer wavelength, about 1100nm or so.
     
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