Doc­tor treats con­cus­sion pa­tients with lasers

Winnipeg Sun - - LIFE - DR. GIF­FORD JONES

How far have we come since Egyp­tians drilled holes in the skull in an at­tempt to cure a va­ri­ety of dis­eases? We’ve seen tremen­dous ad­vances in brain surgery. But rel­a­tively lit­tle progress in how to treat con­cus­sion. Ba­si­cally, med­i­cal ad­vice has been to rest while wait­ing for the brain to re­cover. But re­search now shows low-in­ten­sity laser ther­apy (LILT) can dra­mat­i­cally speed up the heal­ing of bruised brains. So why isn’t it used more by doc­tors, and for more con­di­tions?

To learn about this ther­apy I in­ter­viewed Dr. Fred Kahn, founder of Meditech In­ter­na­tional. Last year, his Toronto clinic treated over 800 con­cus­sion pa­tients, those who have been in a car ac­ci­dent, suf­fered a fall, or who years ago had a blow to the head. Some had not lost con­scious­ness, so failed to re­al­ize they’d suf­fered a con­cus­sion.

The symp­toms of con­cus­sion de­pend on the de­gree of brain in­jury. But the usual symp­toms con­sist of mem­ory loss, dizzi­ness, headache, fa­tigue, ir­ri­tabil­ity, emo­tional in­sta­bil­ity.

So what is LILT? Dur­ing this treat­ment, par­ti­cles of en­ergy, known as pho­tons, are pro­duced and ab­sorbed by cel­lu­lar struc­tures. This stim­u­lates me­tab­o­lism in dam­aged tis­sues, re­solves in­flam­ma­tion, ac­cel­er­ates heal­ing, which re­sults in the elim­i­na­tion of symp­toms.

I spent sev­eral hours study­ing Dr. Kahn’s re­ports. One pa­tient writes, “I had suf­fered con­cus­sion re­sult­ing in a stiff neck, brain fog, in­tense fa­tigue, and se­vere sen­si­tiv­ity to light and noise. It was quite de­mor­al­iz­ing. I was treated by Dr. Kahn twice a week for 10 weeks, grad­u­ally re­gained my strength and emo­tional health”.

An­other pa­tient says, “Fol­low­ing a car ac­ci­dent, an emer­gency doc­tor di­ag­nosed a con­cus­sion. But he in­formed me there was no treat­ment to pre­scribe for re­cov­ery. For­tu­nately a friend told me about Dr. Kahn’s clinic and now, fol­low­ing sev­eral treat­ments, I’ve fi­nally ex­pe­ri­enced pos­i­tive changes in my mood along with re­duced pain”.

The World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion re­ports that six out of ev­ery 1,000 in­di­vid­u­als have sus­tained some form of con­cus­sion. And that 20 to 30 mil­lion North Amer­i­cans are liv­ing with trau­matic brain in­juries.

What im­pressed me dur­ing my stay at the clinic was how this ther­apy is also be­ing used for so many other med­i­cal con­di­tions. For years I’ve writ­ten how di­a­betes may re­sult in hard­ened ar­ter­ies, and de­creased blood flow to the legs, re­sult­ing in di­a­betic ul­cers and some­times leg am­pu­ta­tion. Now I saw pa­tients whose leg ul­cers had com­pletely healed af­ter 10 treat­ments over a two week pe­riod, along with im­proved blood cir­cu­la­tion to the foot.

Laser ther­apy is also be­ing used at the clinic to treat sports in­juries, de­gen­er­a­tive arthri­tis, back pain due to a rup­tured spinal disc, carpal tun­nel syn­drome, ro­ta­tor cuff tears, bur­si­tis and chronic skin dis­eases such as eczema and pso­ri­a­sis.

Low-in­ten­sity laser ther­apy has been known for 40 years, but has largely been col­lect­ing dust. I first be­came aware of this ther­apy when I at­tended an in­ter­na­tional con­fer­ence on this sub­ject sev­eral years ago.

At that time, I heard Dr. Mary Dyson of the depart­ment of phys­i­ol­ogy at the Univer­sity of Lon­don, Eng­land, dis­cuss the heal­ing prop­er­ties of LILT. An­other speaker, Tina Karu, pro­fes­sor of laser bi­ol­ogy at the Rus­sian Acad­emy of Sci­ence, had done ex­ten­sive re­search on laser ther­apy. It was ap­par­ent LILT was not an old-fash­ioned snake oil cure.

Since that time, dur­ing a trip to Is­rael, I in­ter­viewed Dr. Si­monn Rochkind, a mi­cro-neu­ro­sur­geon at Tel Aviv Univer­sity, a world au­thor­ity on nerve re­gen­er­a­tion. Peo­ple who have cat­a­strophic spinal cord in­juries, such as the one suf­fered by Christo­pher Reeves of the Su­per­man movies, can never walk again. But I wit­nessed rats with sev­ered spinal cords who were par­tially walk­ing again with the help of Rochkind’s surgery in con­junc­tion with LILT ther­apy.

Cur­rent re­search shows that low-in­ten­sity laser ther­apy is a new way to treat con­cus­sion but has re­ceived lit­tle med­i­cal at­ten­tion. It also has the ap­peal of be­ing non-toxic, non-in­va­sive and is com­pletely safe.

So to­day with the in­creas­ing num­ber of con­cus­sions, there is no need to drill holes in the skull or wait for na­ture to heal a bruised brain. Low-in­ten­sity laser ther­apy of­fers a safe and speed­ier route.

ED­I­TOR’S NOTE: The col­umn does not con­sti­tute med­i­cal ad­vice and is not meant to di­ag­nose, treat, pre­vent or cure dis­ease. Please con­tact your doc­tor. The in­for­ma­tion pro­vided is for in­for­ma­tional pur­poses only and are the views solely of the au­thor. See For com­ments; [email protected]

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