The red light bulb is said to regenerate the nerves

pte20240508001 Medical/Health, Research/Development

According to researchers at the University of Birmingham, the initial improvement occurred after five doses of radiation

A light implant in the spine for nerve stimulation (description: birmingham.ac.uk)

A light implant in the spine for nerve stimulation (description: birmingham.ac.uk)

Birmingham (pte001/08.05.2024/06:00)

According to researchers, patients with spinal cord injuries may University of Birmingham Hope for a cure or at least an alleviation of their symptoms. They were able to repair damaged nerve connections using red and near-infrared light. The light is sent directly to the wound site. Experts identified the optimal dose for the novel therapeutic approach and demonstrated that it leads to significant therapeutic improvements, including significant restoration of sensation and movement and regeneration of damaged nerve cells.

Nerve cells need to grow

Light with a wavelength of 660 nanometers has a neuroprotective effect, i.e. improves the survival of nerve cells, and neurogenesis, i.e. stimulates the growth of nerve cells. The researchers, led by Zubair Ahmed, used cell models to determine the optimal frequency of light and the most optimal duration of radiation to maximally restore function and stimulate nerve cell growth.

The scientists found that exposure to red light with a wavelength of 660 nanometers for one minute per day increased the viability of the cells — which measures the number of cells — by 45 percent over five days of treatment.

Fiber optic cable transmits light

However, this procedure is currently only suitable to a limited extent for the required treatment duration. It is necessary to place the light source where it should have its healing effect. This can be achieved by minimally invasive insertion of optical fibers, which are removed again at the end of the treatment. Ahmed is also thinking about creating implantable light sources that can be inserted into the brain, for example, to stimulate nerve cells there.

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Surgeries are common after spinal cord injuries, but currently these are only aimed at stabilizing the bones of the spine damaged by trauma. In the future, surgeons may use this opportunity to implant a device to help protect and repair the spine.

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