An urgent call has been put out this week, seeking Australian volunteers to assess the efficacy of infrared light therapy for Parkinson’s disease in a groundbreaking randomised trial.
Dr Ann Liebert, co-ordinator of Photomolecular Research at the SAN Hospital and adjunct senior lecturer at the University of Sydney, and her colleagues, are looking for 40 volunteers between the ages of 60 to 85 with mild to moderate Parkinson’s disease, to take part in the 6-month trial.
Professor Hosen Kiat, the senior investigator of the laser research team and Professor of Cardiology at Macquarie University, says that half of the trial participants will receive infrared light therapy to the head and neck via a helmet device, three times a week for 24 minutes per session. The other half of the trial participants will use a similar device that will not actually emit infrared light (placebo).
At the end of the 12 weeks the trial will be unblinded and those who were in the placebo arm of the trial will be offered the active treatment for an additional 12 weeks if they wish.
The trial is due to begin in October this year.
Professor Kiat said they were very confident that, based on the previous Parkinson’s disease trial using a handheld laser device, that this trial would achieve measurable outcome results with gross motor movement, fine motor function, writing and walking.
“Parkinson’s disease makes people either too painful or too tired or too stiff to move,” Professor Kiat said.
“Pain is an early symptom of Parkinson’s disease, and we feel that improvement in these two areas alone, movement and the reduction of pain, would be a major step towards improvement of quality of life.”
If you are interested in taking part in the trial, you can contact Dr Liebert at her Northshore Musculoskeletal and Laser Physiotherapy Clinic on (02) 9419 3404 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can learn more about Dr Liebert and her team’s research here: Light therapy and Parkinson’s – SYMBYX Biome
Suvi Mahonen is a Surfers Paradise-based journalist. Her work appears in The Australian, the Australian Quarterly, Mamamia and other health and lifestyle publications. Follow her on Facebook, YouTube and online art-selling platform Redbubble.