Are You lasering the Brain Yet? No? Well, Get On With It Already!!

dog wearing goggles with laser therapy being applied to the brain

Are You lasering the Brain Yet? No? Well, Get On With It Already!!

Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT is, in a word, the "guru" of animal rehabilitation and physiotherapy.  We can indeed call her a "pioneer" in this field, and she continues to educate, innovate, and even provoke with her weekly tutorials.  For many of us in this field, she is inspiring.  Veterinary professionals interested in following Laurie should check her out here FOURLEG.  Below is Laurie's thought-provoking pitch on lasering the brain.  Since I have a dog with cerebellar abiotrophy, this is of particular interest to me but it may be applicable for pets with varied neurological and cognitive impairments.  If nothing else, it's nourishing food for thought.  Ilaria Borghese, Co-Founder, Vital Vet, LLC.

Are You lasering the Brain Yet? No? Well, Get On With It Already!!

This is a topic that I have discussed in the past, but a recent article brought it to my attention again.  So, let’s talk about lasering the brain!

Why would you want to laser the brain?

Simply put, Laser (photobiomodulation – PBM) can stimulate healing.  As such, there are pathologies in the brain that laser could potentially heal! 

Canine cognitive dysfunction (i.e. Alzheimer’s), brain injuries, stroke, middle and inner ear infections, any issue impacting the brain stem (i.e. syringomyelia, GOLPP), or perhaps cerebellar hypoplasia could all benefit from laser therapy. 

How might laser work to impact the brain?

PBM can stimulate mitochondria in the brain to produce ATP and subsequently enhance energy for the brain.  It has been shown that 660 and 810nm wavelengths are best at stimulating the mitochondria.

• Transcranial-PBM can reduce amyloid plaque build-up in the brain via modifying microglial activity, most likely via increased beta-amyloid plaque phagocytosis and improved blood supply (angiogenesis).  It has been shown that 1070nm wavelength reduce amyloid plaque levels in mice, and 632.8nm also showed positive effects.

Laser therapy has been shown to enhance Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor invitro, having a restorative effect on neurons of the hippocampus.

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects have been shown to play a factor.  Brain blood flow is also enhanced with PBM.  An 808 nm wavelength was shown in a mouse model to increase cerebral blood flow by 30%.

There are no scientific papers that have studied laser therapy for canine cognition (or other pathologies).  As such, we must look to rodent studies to extrapolate.  An approximate dose for rodents of 10 J/ cm2 and a range of 25–60 J/cm2 for people have been approximated based on various studies. 

I have found a suggestion to aim for 0.3 – 3.0J/cm2 at the target tissue.  Hmmm.  I have also seen that only 1 – 6% of the joules delivered at the surface will reach the target tissue when penetrating through layers of multiple tissue types.  So it is likely safe to say that you would be unlikely to over-laser.  However, as a starting point, one could try the doses listed above.

Clinically,  I have lasered for syringomyelia and GOLPP, and for residual effects after resolution of a deep inner ear infection, however, I’ve not had the chance to use PBM for canine cognitive dementia.  If you have, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts!

Cheers!  Laurie

Click Here to see Laurie's demo on Lasering the brain

Author: Laurie Edge-Hughes, BScPT, MAnimSt, CAFCI, CCRT

Reference: FOURLEG Rehab Inc.

A Vital Vet Publication  

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1 comment

I have been lasering for canine cognitive dysfunction for a few months with help from Companion animal health and pleased with what I’m seeing, now looking to see if it could help epilepsy

Charoul Lekx

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