Transcranial low level laser (light) therapy for traumatic brain injury

Ying Ying Huang, Asheesh Gupta, Daniela Vecchio, Vida J.Bil de Arce, Shih Fong Huang, Weijun Xuan, Michael R. Hamblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

66 Citations (Scopus)


We review the use of transcranial low-level laser (light) therapy (LLLT) as a possible treatment for traumatic-brain injury (TBI). The basic mechanisms of LLLT at the cellular and molecular level and its effects on the brain are outlined. Many interacting processes may contribute to the beneficial effects in TBI including neuroprotection, reduction of inflammation and stimulation of neurogenesis. Animal studies and clinical trials of transcranial-LLLT for ischemic stroke are summarized. Several laboratories have shown that LLLT is effective in increasing neurological performance and memory and learning in mouse models of TBI. There have been case report papers that show beneficial effects of transcranial-LLLT in a total of three patients with chronic TBI. Our laboratory has conducted three studies on LLLT and TBI in mice. One looked at pulsed-vs-continuous wave laser-irradiation and found 10 Hz to be superior. The second looked at four different laser-wavelengths (660, 730, 810, and 980 nm); only 660 and 810 nm were effective. The last looked at different treatment repetition regimens (1, 3 and 14-daily laser-treatments).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)827-837
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Biophotonics
Issue number11-12
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Clinical trials
  • Low level laser therapy
  • Mouse models
  • NIR laser
  • Neurogenesis
  • Photobiomodulation
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • General Biochemistry,Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Engineering
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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