After years of studying the effects of near-infrared light on veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injuries, a team led by a University of Texas at Arlington bioengineer has published groundbreaking research in Nature’s Scientific Reports that could result in an effective, long-term treatment for brain disorders.
Professor Hanli Liu was the primary investigator on the project. As in the first study, the team used a human forearm as a biological model instead of the human brain to avoid confounding factors due to such anatomical structures as the scalp and skull. The paper outlines their discovery that shining near-infrared light on the subject’s forearm increases production of cytochrome-c-oxydase, a protein inside the neurons that stimulates blood flow. This discovery shows great potential that NIR or infrared light also will work within the brain.
Now the team is moving to report and publish its findings of transcranial NIR stimulation on the human brain by quantifying production of cytochrome-c-oxydase and increase of blood flow. It would support a novel, non-invasive treatment with imaging ability, especially for memory, which could really help veterans who suffer from PTSD.
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- An Anatomy of Psycho-trauma: Pain, Illness and Recovery (Article-Based CE Program). Harmand Hilfmann School of Professional Psychology.
- Amarnath Yennu, Fenghua Tian, Alexa Smith-Osborne, Robert J. Gatchel, Fu Lye Woon, Hanli Liu (2016). Prefrontal responses to Stroop tasks in subjects with post-traumatic stress disorder assessed by functional near infrared spectroscopy. Scientific Reports, 6.