April 13, 2023
Emerging evidence is increasingly supporting the use of transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) to improve symptoms of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease (PD). The objective of this study was to analyse the safety and efficacy of tPBM for PD motor symptoms. The study was a triple blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial with 40 idiopathic PD patients receiving either active tPBM (635 nm plus 810 nm LEDs) or sham tPBM for 24 min per day (56.88J), six days per week, for 12 weeks. The primary outcome measures were treatment safety and a 37-item MDS-UPDRS-III (motor domain) assessed at baseline and 12 weeks. Individual MDS-UPDRS-III items were clustered into sub-score domains (facial, upper-limb, lower-limb, gait, and tremor). The treatment produced no safety concerns or adverse events, apart from occasional temporary and minor dizziness. There was no significant difference in total MDS-UPDRS-III scores between groups, presumably due to the placebo effect. Additional analyses demonstrated that facial and lower-limb sub-scores significantly improved with active treatment, while gait and lower-limb sub-scores significantly improved with sham treatment. Approximately 70% of participants responded to active treatment (≥5 decrease in MDS-UPDRS-III score) and improved in all sub-scores, while sham responders improved in lower-limb sub-scores only. tPBM appears to be a safe treatment and improved several PD motor symptoms in patients that responded to treatment. tPBM is proving to be increasingly attractive as a possible non-pharmaceutical adjunct therapy.