Photobiomodulation for Alzheimer's Disease: Translating Basic Research to Clinical Application

Joachim Enengl, Michael R. Hamblin, Peter Dungel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


One of the challenges in translating new therapeutic approaches to the patient bedside lies in bridging the gap between scientists who are conducting basic laboratory research and medical practitioners who are not exposed to highly specialized journals. This review covers the literature on photobiomodulation therapy as a novel approach to prevent and treat Alzheimer's disease, aiming to bridge that gap by gathering together the terms and technical specifications into a single concise suggestion for a treatment protocol. In light of the predicted doubling in the number of people affected by dementia and Alzheimer's disease within the next 30 years, a treatment option which has already shown promising results in cell culture studies and animal models, and whose safety has already been proven in humans, must not be left in the dark. This review covers the mechanistic action of photobiomodulation therapy against Alzheimer's disease at a cellular level. Safe and effective doses have been found in animal models, and the first human case studies have provided reasons to undertake large-scale clinical trials. A brief discussion of the minimally effective and maximum tolerated dose concludes this review, and provides the basis for a successful translation from bench to bedside.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1405-1416
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • cognitive dysfunction
  • dementia
  • low-level light therapy
  • neuroimmunomodulation
  • photobiomodulation therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental Health


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