Transcranial LED therapy for cognitive dysfunction in chronic, mild traumatic brain injury: Two case reports

Margaret A. Naeser, Anita Saltmarche, Maxine H. Krengel, Michael R. Hamblin, Jeffrey A. Knight

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Two chronic, traumatic brain injury (TBI) cases are presented, where cognitive function improved following treatment with transcranial light emitting diodes (LEDs). At age 59, P1 had closed-head injury from a motor vehicle accident (MVA) without loss of consciousness and normal MRI, but unable to return to work as development specialist in internet marketing, due to cognitive dysfunction. At 7 years post-MVA, she began transcranial LED treatments with cluster heads (2.1" diameter with 61 diodes each - 9x633nm, 52x870nm; 12-15mW per diode; total power, 500mW; 22.2 mW/cm2) on bilateral frontal, temporal, parietal, occipital and midline sagittal areas (13.3 J/cm2 at scalp, estimated 0.4 J/cm2 to brain cortex per area). Prior to transcranial LED, focused time on computer was 20 minutes. After 2 months of weekly, transcranial LED treatments, increased to 3 hours on computer. Performs nightly home treatments (now, 5 years, age 72); if stops treating >2 weeks, regresses. P2 (age 52F) had history of closed-head injuries related to sports/military training and recent fall. MRI shows fronto-parietal cortical atrophy. Pre-LED, was not able to work for 6 months and scored below average on attention, memory and executive function. Performed nightly transcranial LED treatments at home (9 months) with similar LED device, on frontal and parietal areas. After 4 months of LED treatments, returned to work as executive consultant, international technology consulting firm. Neuropsychological testing (post- 9 months of transcranial LED) showed significant improvement in memory and executive functioning (range, +1 to +2 SD improvement). Case 2 reported reduction in PTSD symptoms.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy V
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes
EventMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy V - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: 23 Jan 201025 Jan 2010

Publication series

NameProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISSN (Print)1605-7422


ConferenceMechanisms for Low-Light Therapy V
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Cognitive dysfunction
  • LLLT
  • Light emitting diodes
  • PTSD
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Sports head injury
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Radiology, Nuclear Medicine and Imaging


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