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The Many Benefits of Blue LED Light Therapy

Posted by Pamela Hackeman on May 3, 2015 at 10:50 AM

This is an article I found online regarding Blue Light Therapy, I didn't write it, just passing it on.


Research and clinical studies

 

The use of blue LED light in medicine is a real innovation. Philips Light & Health is pursuing this innovative approach in various research projects, with the objective of developing potential medical applications using blue LED light.

 

Psoriasis

 

Psoriasis is the medical term for a disease that causes various areas of the skin to become inflamed and to start peeling.

 

Healthy skin is characterized by a precisely regulated multiplication and differentiation of skin cells. If these processes are impaired, symptoms such as those in psoriasis can develop. Around 125 million people are affected by psoriasis worldwide, 80% of them suffer from the most common type of the disease called, psoriasis vulgaris. Typical symptoms are reddened, extremely scaly skin areas that are often itchy.

 

Psoriasis vulgaris is the result of a complex interplay of inflammatory processes that lead to the excessive multiplication and improper differentiation (hyperproliferation) of a certain type of skin cell known as keratinocytes. How can blue light alleviate psoriasis vulgaris? Surprisingly, when keratinocytes are exposed to blue LED light at a wavelength of 453 nm, multiplication decreases and differentiation increases. This effect counteracts the hyperproliferation of keratinocytes in psoriatic skin. The benefit of using blue LED light at this wavelength is that it has no damaging effect on the various skin cells, which means that it is not toxic. These results demonstrate that blue light can influence the processes that have gone out of control in psoriasis vulgaris [Liebmann L et al. JID. 2010;130:259-269].

 

 

The exposure of skin cells (keratinocytes) to blue LED light (453 nm) leads to a reduction in proliferation, depending on the dose [Liebmann L et al. JID. 2010;130:259-269].

In collaboration with the Dermatology Department at the University Hospital Aachen, Philips Light & Health is investigating whether blue light can improve the symptoms in patients with psoriasis vulgaris.

 

A clinical study involving 40 patients with psoriasis vulgaris has already been completed. The study aimed to determine whether irradiation of the affected skin area with blue LED-light results in an alleviation of symptoms. After four weeks, a significant improvement of the symptoms could be observed due to treatment of the affected skin area with blue LED light. This positive effect persisted for the length of the treatment [Weinstabl A et al. Dermatology. 2011. DOI: 10.1159/000333364].

 

 

The symptoms of psoriasis vulgaris patients significantly improved after four weeks of blue LED light therapy (measured against the LPSI = Local Psoriasis Severity Index) [Weinstabl A et al. Dermatology. 2011. DOI: 10.1159/000333364].

Building on these results, Philips Light & Health has initiated a long-term study in collaboration with the Dermatology Department at the University Hospital Aachen. This study investigates the effects of blue LED light on 47 patients with mild to moderate psoriasis vulgaris over a period of 4 months.

 

The results prove the positive effects of blue LED light, especially over a longer treatment period. Compared to the untreated control plaque, the efficacy of the blue LED light therapy to reduce the Local PASI was highly significant. The baseline Local PASI value at the beginning of the treatment was about 5.2, which improved on average 50% during the 12 week treatment exposure to blue LED light [ClinicalTrials.gov Identifiers: NCT02004847; Data on file at Philips B. V .].

 

 

The treatment with blue LED light over 12 weeks resulted in an improvement of the Local PASI of 50% on average

Treatment compliance was excellent, 98% of the patients followed the instructions for the treatment with blue LED light over the 4 month trial. Patients reported that the treatment was convenient and the device was very user-friendly. No negative side effects of the blue LED light treatment were observed [Data on file at Philips B. V.].

 

Eczema

 

Even though eczema is a catch-all term for many different symptoms, these symptoms are very much alike in appearance. The common characteristic is inflamed skin, which is usually accompanied by severe itching.

 

There are many causal factors, including environmental influences and often hereditary factors. Eczema mostly starts in early childhood and often continues into adulthood. Atopic eczema is one of the most common types and affects 10–15% of the population in industrial countries.

 

The diversity of the symptoms is linked to the complexity of the disease's origins. In people affected by the disease, the skin's barrier function is impaired, allowing allergenic substances to enter the skin. These are detected by certain immune cells—dendritic cells—which in turn attract inflammatory cells (e.g. T cells) into the skin and stimulate the release of inflammatory substances. The interaction of an impaired skin barrier with the faulty regulation of the immune system leads to the inflammatory skin reaction.

 

UV light therapy is a common treatment for eczema. However, due to the potentially damaging effect, long-term use or use during childhood is discouraged. Here, UV-free blue light is a very promising alternative. Studies have shown that blue light directly influences the activity of dendritic cells in the skin. Blue light suppresses the activation of these immune cells and has an anti-inflammatory effect by reducing the release of inflammatory substances [Fischer M et al. Experimental Dermatology. 2013;22:554-563].

 

It has already been demonstrated in a clinical trial that blue light is a possible new treatment option for patients with eczema affecting a large skin area. In a study led by the Clinical Research Center of the Department of Dermatology at Mainz University, 36 patients with severe atopic eczema, who no longer responded to cortisone ointments, were exposed to blue light over their entire body for five days in a row. The patients were then treated with corticosteroid ointments until the eczema disappeared. The six months treatment was successful in most patients. Their skin clearly improved, itching decreased, and patients' sleep and quality of life increased. In addition, the frequency and intensity of outbreaks lessened and the use of cortisone ointments could be reduced [Becker D et al. PlosOne. 2011;6(6):e20566].

 

 

Blue light reduced skin problems in patients with severe atopic eczema (measured against the EASI = Eczema Area Severity Index) [Becker D et al. PlosOne. 2011;6(6):e20566].

A study conducted by Philips Light & Health is currently investigating the effect of blue LED light on eczema. During this study, 20 patients are being treated with blue LED light for 4 weeks. The study is being carried out in collaboration with the Dermatology Department at University Hospital Aachen [ClinicalTrials.gov Identifiers: NCT02002871].

 

Effects on Blood Flow

 

A good blood flow is a prerequisite for maintaining proper tissue function, as it provides tissue with oxygen and nutrients and removes metabolites and carbon dioxide.

 

The release of the body's natural NO by blue LED light has been described in several studies. A recent study involving healthy volunteers demonstrated that the release of NO initiated by blue light is linked to an increase in local blood flow. The increase in local blood flow could only be observed with blue LED light. Light with other wavelengths in the visible spectrum showed no effect [Opländer C et al. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2013;65:1363-1377].

 

Blue LED light (453 nm) can increase local blood flow [Opländer C et al. Free Radical Biology and Medicine. 2013;65:1363-1377].

The blood flow enhancing effect of NO originates from the activation of guanylate cyclase. This results in a reduction in calcium concentration in vascular smooth muscle cells, leading to relaxation of the vascular muscles and widening of the blood vessels.

 

A clinical phase III study has already demonstrated that muscular back pain can be alleviated by treatment with blue LED light. This effect is probably caused by widening of the blood vessels and increase of the blood flow due to the release of NO. 171 patients with chronic muscular back pain participated in the study. After just three days of treatment, the exposure to blue LED light had resulted in a noticeable pain reduction in 80% of the patients. Pain intensity could be reduced by 30% in approximately 50% of patients [ClinicalTrials.gov Identifiers: NCT01528332].

 

 

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