Dr-Maria Gabriela Figueiro Longo

Low Level Light Therapy Has Potential to Help Patients With Traumatic Brain Injury

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr-Maria Gabriela Figueiro Longo

Dr. Figueiro LongoTBI

Maria Gabriela Figueiro Longo, MD, MSc
Department of Radiology, Massachusetts General Hospital
Harvard Medical School, Boston

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Transcranial low-level light therapy (3LT) has been shown to be effective in animal models of traumatic brain injury.

Our goal was to assess the 3LT in humans with acute TBI.

We tested (1) safety, and (2) any effect in the brain in a measurable way.

We found positive results for both – there was no event adverse during the trial related to the 3LT; and we found some differences in the brain MRI diffusivity parameters in the patients who received light therapy compared to the sham group.

The study was not powered for clinical evaluation, although there was a trend towards lower symptom burden in the treated group.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: On this small cohort of patients with acute moderate traumatic brain injury, we were able to demonstrate neuroreactivity in the patients who received light therapy. Further investigation is necessary to correlate our MR findings with clinical efficacy.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our results are promising. Based on our findings and prior studies, Transcranial low-level light therapy has the potential to help patients with acute TBI. Although, it is still early to ensure the 3LT has a role in the clinical care and a multicenter trial is necessary to establish clinical efficacy.

I have no disclosures related to this study. 


Figueiro Longo MG, Tan CO, Chan S, et al. Effect of Transcranial Low-Level Light Therapy vs Sham Therapy Among Patients With Moderate Traumatic Brain Injury: A Randomized Clinical Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(9):e2017337. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.17337


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Last Updated on September 25, 2020 by Marie Benz MD FAAD