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  • Dr Ashleigh Bhanjan

Shedding Light on ADHD : The Power of Photobiomodulation Therapy





From a Neurologist and Low Level Laser Therapy Practitioner, you may be interested in the use of photobiomodulation (PBM) therapy for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).



PBM, also known as low-level laser therapy (LLLT), has shown promise in the management of various psychological disorders, including ADHD.


While there is limited published evidence regarding its efficacy for ADHD, recent case studies and research have provided valuable insights into its potential clinical advantages and mechanism of action.



PBMT in ADHD, how can it help ?


Photobiomodulation therapy (PBM) targets patients with ADHD by utilizing low-level laser therapy (LLLT) to stimulate cellular function through the absorption of light by mitochondria, leading to various physiological effects that may contribute to the amelioration of ADHD symptoms.


The specific mechanisms responsible for the beneficial effects of PBM in ADHD are not yet fully understood, but evidence points to mitochondria playing a major role as the photo acceptors in LLLT and PBM.


Individuals with ADHD have shown evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction, making the role of mitochondria particularly relevant in the context of ADHD and PBM therapy.

PBM has been studied and applied in the field of neurotrauma, neurodegeneration, and neuropsychiatric disorders, indicating its potential as a treatment strategy for neurological diseases. Transcranial PBM, in particular, has been investigated in different animal models and humans as an economical and safe therapy for cognitive dysfunction, suggesting its potential application in the management of ADHD.


Furthermore, a randomized double-blind trial is currently underway to assess the behavioral, cognitive, and clinical changes of 8 weeks of PBM treatment in terms of improvement of inhibitory control, normalization of intra-individual reaction time variability, and reduction of ADHD symptom severity in adults with ADHD. This trial aims to provide valuable insights into the efficacy of transcranial PBM for adult ADHD, shedding light on its potential as a non-pharmacological intervention for the disorder.


In conclusion, PBM therapy targets patients with ADHD by leveraging the effects of light absorption by mitochondria to potentially address mitochondrial dysfunction and modulate brain function, offering a promising avenue for the management of ADHD.


Ongoing research and clinical trials are essential for further elucidating the specific mechanisms and efficacy of PBM in the context of ADHD.



Current treatment options : Medication


The current treatment options for ADHD include medication, therapy, or a combination of both.


Medications for ADHD include stimulants such as methylphenidate and amphetamine, and non-stimulants such as atomoxetine and certain antidepressants.


Stimulants are the most commonly prescribed medications for ADHD and have been shown to be effective in treating the symptoms of ADHD and improving other functional outcomes including quality of life, academic performance, and rates of accidents and injuries.


Non-stimulants may be a good option for individuals who cannot take stimulants due to health problems or severe side effects.


Current treatment options : Therapy


Therapy can also be useful in treating ADHD in children, teenagers, and adults. Psychoeducation, cognitive-behavioral therapy, and social skills training are some of the therapies that may be used.





Therapy is also effective in treating additional problems, such as conduct or anxiety disorders, that may appear with ADHD.


The right treatment for ADHD varies among individuals, so it may take time to find out what works best for each person.
It is recommended that parents work closely with healthcare providers, therapists, teachers, coaches, and other family members to find the best options.


Clinical Advantages


The use of PBM for ADHD presents several potential clinical advantages. Case studies have suggested that LLLT can provide alleviation of ADHD symptoms, with some improvement reported after just a single treatment, without the need for pharmaceutical intervention





This non-invasive approach may offer an alternative or complementary treatment option for individuals with ADHD, particularly those who may not tolerate or prefer to avoid traditional pharmacological interventions.


Mechanism of Action


PBM works by stimulating cellular function through the absorption of light by mitochondria, leading to various physiological effects, including improved energy production and reduced oxidative stress. In the context of ADHD, PBM may exert its effects on neural function and neurotransmitter regulation, potentially contributing to the amelioration of ADHD symptoms



Peer-Reviewed Articles and Clinical Studies


Several peer-reviewed articles and clinical studies have explored the efficacy of PBM for psychological disorders, including ADHD. For example, a systematic review has highlighted PBM as a promising treatment for multiple pathologies, indicating its potential as a tool in the management of psychological disorders


Additionally, a study on the efficacy of transcranial PBM (tPBM) on ADHD symptoms and executive function deficits in adults with high-functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder demonstrated the potential of tPBM as a safe and feasible treatment approach for core features of ASD, which may have implications for ADHD treatment as well



Randomized Controlled Trial


Furthermore, a randomized controlled trial investigated the effect of tPBM on cognitive function and attentional performance of older women with mild cognitive impairment, showing that tPBM can improve cognitive function in individuals with neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease


While this study focused on cognitive function, its findings may have implications for understanding the potential benefits of tPBM in the context of ADHD.In conclusion, the emerging evidence from case studies, systematic reviews, and clinical studies suggests that PBM, particularly tPBM, holds promise as a non-pharmacological intervention for ADHD.


Further research and randomized controlled trials are necessary to establish its efficacy and elucidate the specific mechanisms underlying its effects on ADHD symptoms.

Conclusion


As a Neurologist and laser therapy practitioner, staying informed about the latest developments in PBM research and its potential applications in the context of ADHD can contribute to the advancement of non-invasive treatment options for individuals with ADHD.


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