Could light therapy really speed up burn wound healing? A new study is showing insight regarding how the experimental therapy could activate important proteins to stimulate cell growth through laser therapy or photobiomodulation therapy.
Laser Therapy Photobiomodulation
Low-level laser therapy, or photobiomodulation therapy, has been a treatment for different maladies for over half a century. A previous 2012 review of the therapy noted that the effectiveness was controversial due to two fundamental reasons.
The first reason was that its underlying biochemical mechanisms were poorly understood making its use largely empirical. The second was that a large number of parameters like fluence, wavelength, pulse structure, power density, and even timing of the light should be chosen for every treatment. It was then regarded as a less optimal choice to get effective results or could even result in negative therapeutic outcome.
Is Laser Therapy Effective on Burn Victims?
A study in the Scientific Reports journal used a series of cells and animal models to better understand photobiomodulation therapy's molecular mechanisms. The focus was more on burn wound healing as well as the effect light has on the TGF-beta 1 protein. There have been previous TikTok challenges like the boiling water challenge that are extremely unsafe and have even resulted in more burn victims.
The protein has a fundamental role when it comes to important cell functions like cell growth. The new study shows how light therapy could influence TGF-beta 1 activity when it came to burn wound healing over the course of nine days. Aside from more evidence of photobiomodulation therapy's effect in speeding up burn wound healing, researchers showed how it was able to enhance activity of the TGF-beta 1.
TGF-beta 1 Protein
Lead investigator Praveen Arany noted that the new findings show the TGF-beta 1 promotes wound healing through reducing local levels of tissue inflammation. Photobiomodulation therapy has already shown its effectiveness in cancer care and age related macular degeneration as well as Alzheimer's disease. There have also been other medication failures that have resulted in harsher experiences for burn victims.
It was noted that a common feature among the ailments is the central role of inflammation. This work reportedly provides evidence when it comes to the ability of photobiomodulation-activated TGF-beta 1 which could mitigate the inflammation while also promoting tissue regeneration.
Reasons Why Light Therapy is Effective
The researchers hypothesize that a major reason for inconsistencies in previous studies could also be the target tissue being inadvertently heated up to certain temperatures resulting in detrimental results. A number of strategies were suggested for photobiomodulation not reaching unsafe levels, according to NewAtlas.
It was noted that there are a number of successful strategies that emphasize non-thermal PBM protocols like selecting a more discrete wavelength like visible light for superficial treatment as well as near-infrared for other deeper targets, pulsing, LED patterns, and scanning delivery. Researchers also conclude that this light therapy could be a great tool for wound management.
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Written by Urian B.