Medicine Quackery Skepticism/critical thinking

COVID-19 Light Therapy: Old quackery repurposed

Quacks love light therapy for everything, whether there’s good evidence or not that it works for the condition treated. COVID-19 is no exception.

[Orac note: Orac regrets that there hasn’t been a new bit of Insolence, either Respectful or not-so-Respectful, in nearly a week. The universe got in the way. Fortunately, to get started again, Orac has found a tasty bit of woo called COVID Light Therapy. He also hopes to get back on a more regular posting schedule (or even more frequent than what has been the norm the last few weeks) beginning on Monday, right after the Easter holiday.]

In the era of the COVID-19 pandemic, with respect to the antivaccine movement, I’ve liked to repeat the mantra that “everything old is new again” or that “there is nothing new under the sun.” The reason, of course, is that, when it comes to antivaccine tropes and disinformation, everything old really is new again, with old antivax pseudoscience, distortions of science, and just plain misinformation, disinformation, and lies repurposed for COVID-19 vaccines and COVID-19 itself. It turns out that the same thing is true for dubious treatments and outright quackery. Be it homeopathy, acupuncture, or any other scientific nonsense, quackery is being furiously repurposed for COVID-19. Nowhere have I seen a better example of this phenomenon than with a website I found last week, COVID Light Therapy. To give you an idea what this light therapy, a.k.a. “photobiomodulation” (PBM) for COVID-19, I thought I’d start out with a screen shot from the website:

"Light therapy" for COVID-19?

This is basically exactly what it looks like. This “light therapy” involves shining red or infrared light externally or into the nose or mouth. As for the blurb above, the only thing I can see that is true is that the therapy is likely noninvasive and probably safe. As for its use for “improved circulation,” well, all I can say is that infrared light is basically the application of heat more than anything else.

But how? How, you ask, does shining a red or infrared light up your nose prevent, treat, or cure COVID-19, at least according to the Photonic Therapy Institute? Glad you asked. On the COVID Light Therapy website, I found this handy-dandy, super-science-y looking diagram that I took the liberty of taking a screenshot of:

COVID Light Therapy claims

As you might imagine, that reference at the bottom used as support for COVID Light Therapy was like catnip to me—irresistible. So I looked it up and found it here. The first thing I noticed was that it’s a review article from October. The second thing I noticed was that all of the studies included in the review were in animal models, with not a single clinical study in humans included among the 17 studies reviewed. The third thing that I noticed was that most of the papers had nothing to do with COVID-19. There were papers about acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) induced by bowel ischemia (lack of blood flow) and reperfusion, by LPS (a component of endotoxin from bacteria involved in causing the metabolic derangements seen in septic shock), formaldehyde or ovalbumin sprayed into the lung, or by tumor necrosis factor-α (TNF-α). The most recent paper was from 2018, long before the pandemic, and none of them even involved other coronaviruses, such as MERS or SARS.

Finally, I also noticed a figure in the paper that looks suspiciously like the figure above only without humans:

COVID light therapy

The rest is all speculation about COVID-19 light therapy like this:

Photobiomodulation is an innovative approach in this regard. It is a non-invasive approach in which the LEDs or low -level lasers are used to produce the red or near- infrared (NIR) light absorbed by the cellular photo-acceptors. This light absorption produces the ROS, such as singlet oxygen, hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), and superoxide [33][34][35]. These ROS affect many cellular processes, such as proliferation, differentiation [12][13][36][37][38], adenosine triphosphate (ATP) formation [39][40] and also can reduce the inflammtion [10]. So, PBM is a helpful approach when the cellular function is impaired especially by the hypoxia [41]. Previous studies have shown the advantages of the PBM including anti-inflammatory effects and acceleration of the wound healing [10]. These features operate alongside the general effects of the PBM for balancing the metabolic, analgesic, and immunomodulatory conditions. One advantage of this approach is that it is applied locally without any systemic side effects on the other organs [31]. Based on the aforementioned advantages of the PBM and the current lack of established treatments for COVID-19 disease, it seems that the PBM could be helpful in controlling the COVID-19 disease as an alternative or adjunctive treatment, particularly in the severe cases with ARDS.

Again, while there are papers to suggest that PBM can have all these effects, the only evidence is in cell culture or animal models, and there is no good clinical evidence to suggest that the products being sold on the COVID Light Therapy website do anything to prevent or treat COVID-19. Indeed, even the corresponding author, Reza Fekrazad, only suggests that randomized clinical trials of PBM to treat COVID-19 might be indicated and that the infrared light can reach the lungs through the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and muscle when used externally in patients who are prone and on a ventilator. He also suggests an intravenous approach(!) or irradiating lymphoid tissue, such as what is found in lymph node basins.

Earlier in the pandemic (last April, to be specific), Fekrazad published an article also suggesting that light could be used to treat COVID-19 in which his language was a bit more…flowery:

In conclusion, COVID-19 disease is very unknown, and scientists in any area must manage the most dramatic challenge of the century, in any way possible. As we move forward, we should synchronize our speed with the progression of this disease, or even progress faster than it, so it does not take more lives in the future while challenging humanity. According to mechanisms mentioned earlier, we are referring to the capabilities of PBM and photodynamic therapy. The best use is a combination of both methods, as mentioned earlier. The present treatments are focused on virus removal, tissue oxygenation, and reduction or inhibition of cytokine storm caused by severe inflammation. With a combination of these two methods, we can achieve these goals with minimal interference with pharmaceutical methods and battle this disease with biophysical agents. Of course, in the future, the use of a different modality of PBM and aPDT can be evolved and, by using monoclonal antibodies we could target lung tissue specifically. It can even be improved by using Nano technology, making new photosensitizers in Nano scales, and pasting them to the target tissues to obtain better results.

To sum up, this Nano particle, which can be called neither live nor non-live, is perhaps a flick or inspiration; proud and intoxicating human knowledge should attain the highest point of growth and excellence and be severely challenged so that a revolution in science is created and it warns the human beings to be prepared for the tougher challenges coming in future. We should help each other out in any field, see each other as one, be holistic, get out of our rooms and aquariums, and take a more holistic look at science so that the ship of life on this beautiful planet continues its tranquil journey to a beautiful horizon, and be prepared to face any kind of natural or unnatural turbulence.

PDT stands for photodynamic therapy and can involve targeting a light-sensitive molecule to specific cells, either with an antibody or by other means, and then shining a light on the cells once the light-sensitive compound is in the cells, to therapeutic effect. PDT is not quackery, but, again, Fekrazad’s article then was totally speculative.

Personally, I’m not particularly convinced. Besides Fekrazad’s ideas being totally speculative, more importantly, there’s the same problem involved with this particular therapy as there is with another light-based therapy that I discussed not too long ago, the Healight. (As you might recall, the clinical evidence published for Healight was not exactly what I would refer to as compelling.) Specifically, the problem is that light only treats local areas, the organ or anatomic structures being hit by the light beam, and one would expect the same to be true of “COVID Light Therapy.” I discussed in detail in two articles why Healight is highly implausible from a scientific standpoint. COVID Light Therapy is even more implausible by far.

None of this stops the sellers of COVID Light Therapy from making some rather overblown claims. First, they claim their magic light can prevent COVID-19:

Both by lighting the nasal passages where it reproduces and by supporting a healthy immune system. This can be an important tool in keeping those especially susceptible from contracting the virus.

Light Therapy may help prevent COVID infections because:

  • PBM stimulates production of Nitric Oxide (NO) throughout the body
  • NO becomes the primary immune system after Interferon is shut down by COVID-19 virus
  • Red Light also denatures the spikes (corona) on the virus
  • Reduces chance of infection

Then they claim that their COVID Light Therapy can treat COVID-19:

For those who come down with COVID-19 Light is proving to be a secret weapon in quickly restoring health.

Not only do those infected overcome the virus faster, they experience shorter recovery periods!

Light Therapy helps the body fight COVID infection:
  • Reduces pain (inflammation)
  • Suppresses the over production of inflammatory cytokines
  • Improves immune response
  • Reduces chance of severe infection
  • Spikes on virus are sensitive to red light — Reduces viral load in nasal cavity

And then they claim that COVID Light Therapy can help you recover from COVID-19, the implication being that it might prevent “long COVID,” the constellation of chronic debilitating symptoms that many patients who have recovered from the disease are reporting:

Even if you don’t discover Light until you are past an active infection, Light Therapy excels at speeding up recovery from the lingering symptoms of COVID-19:

Body Aches, Fatigue, Brain Fog, Head Congestion, Digestive Upsets.

Light Therapy help the body to recover from Post-COVID Syndrome:
  • Reduces pain (inflammation)
  • Improves breathing
  • Enhances tissue healing
  • Restores energy and stamina
  • Reduces brain fog and nerve pain
  • Helps with emotional relief

So how is this “light therapy” administered? COVID Light Therapy offers three methods:

  • Intranasal: “The COVID-19 virus is understood to replicate in the nasal passages – and to be susceptible to Red light. Introducing Red Light directly into the sinuses has been shown to rapidly reduce viral load.”
  • Pad-based: “Contouring the delivery of Red & Near-Infrared light directly to the areas affected by COVID-19 with Red & Infrared Light Therapy pads is the most effective method to saturate tissue for the reduction of inflammation.”
  • Targeted: “Activating acupoints with targeted Red Light (aka Photopuncture) delivers systemic responses by the whole body. Using a torch-style light on specific points is fast and portable. These tools can also be used in the sinus passages.”

If I hadn’t strongly suspected that COVID Light Therapy was nonsense before, that last bit cinches it! Basically, what is being offered is an unholy union of COVID Light Therapy and acupuncture, with acupuncture points being the “target” for the light beams. I mean, seriously: How is this different from a form of quackery I first wrote about nearly a decade ago called “Esogetic Colorpuncture“? You might recall that this particular form of woo involved shining colored lights on acupuncture points “in order to energize powerful healing impulses in our physical and energy bodies,” or, as I quoted at the time:

Esogetic Colorpuncture involves colored lightinfrared frequenciesultraviolet frequenciesbrain wave frequenciessound, and crystal treatments as indicated by Kirlian Energy Emission Analysis to gently unlock and release emotional trauma and energetic blocks which often underlie our illnesses.

OK, Esogetic Colorpuncture is a bit more amusing, but at their hearts Photopuncture is no different than Esogetic Colorpuncture, and proposing to shine colored lights on acupuncture points to prevent or treat COVID-19 should be on its face just plain ridiculous. Admittedly it isn’t as ridiculous as “biopuncture,” which involves combining homeopathic remedies with acupuncture and using acupuncture needles to inject such remedies into acupuncture points, but it’s nonetheless plenty ridiculous.

I went looking the website for any actual evidence that COVID Light Therapy could work. (What can I say? I’m a physician-scientist. It’s what I do.) Those behind the website did provide a list of articles from the peer-reviewed literature about light therapy, photodynamic therapy, etc., but few of the articles had much relevance to COVID-19, and many dated back to before the pandemic. One article is a news report from May that describes a company called Steriwave that had proposed using light to “sterilize” the nasal passages of COVID-19, while another is a press release from another company, Ondine Biomedical, Inc. One might be forgiven nearly 11 months ago for thinking that might help, but we know now that SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, can get deep into the lungs. Then there’s a case report from August that is, as most such reports are, completely unconvincing that this is anything other than confusing correlation with causation.

As for the rest of the papers “supporting” COVID Light Therapy, they’re all very speculative, making connections that might or might not be valid, such as noting that laser light therapy can induce nitric oxide, which can inhibit viral replication. It also doesn’t help that “low level laser light therapy” (LLLT) shows up on a lot of websites promoting “anti-aging” treatments, along with rather amazing claims about how it will decrease wrinkles and rejuvenate skin as well as to cause hair regrowth in men, and one review article about the latter indication impressed me only with how poor the studies included were.

It didn’t help my acceptance of light therapy that the Biophotonic Therapy Institute, which is apparently selling these devices, boasts:

By applying infrared, red and blue light pulsed at specific frequencies, circulation increases and the body’s production of nitric oxide is activated. Nitric Oxide, the “miracle molecule” provides multiple benefits to the body by regulating blood pressure and blood flow to organs, preventing harmful clots and combating arterial plaque, reducing oxidative stress and aiding nerve communication.

The application of light also increases ATP (adenosine tryphosphate) production. ATP is the fuel produced by the mitochondria in your cells. It is the fuel your body runs on. All food must be converted to ATP to be used as energy. Enhanced ATP production results in greater cell energy, regeneration and renewal.

Here’s a hint: Increase ATP levels do not necessarily translate to greater “regeneration and renewal,” nor is greater “regeneration and renewal” always a good thing. After all, cancer cells have a lot of ATP because they’re metabolically quite active. Don’t get me wrong. There are apparently some indications for light therapy of this sort, but, wow. It’s hard to take seriously an organization that offers “training” for “certified light therapists” (CLTs) with this in its FAQ:

Q – How do I know if light therapy does not require to be licensed in my state?

To the best of our knowledge, as long as you clearly inform your clients that you are not a doctor or veterinarian and are correct with your language that you do not diagnose or cure any diseases, you do not have to be licensed in any state in the US at this time. That is one of the things we teach in our CLT program. As PBM grows in popularity, I am sure that, much like massage therapy, the various states and municipalities will eventually require licensing so that they can charge fees.

Yes, indeed! As long as you give your clients the Quack Miranda warning, you don’t need a license to shine a light on them to “cure” disease!

Then there’s this quote:

The best description I have read is “Light gives every cell the energy it needs to do its own job better!”

My only retort to this is that humans are not plants. (At least, most of us are not.) We do not get our energy through photosynthesis. None of this stops the Photonic Therapy Institute from offering courses to become a CLT for humans, horses, and pets.

But, hey, this is science, ma-an! On the COVID Light Therapy website, I found a link to what is presented as a “research study” run by something called the MMD Wellness Group:

Welcome to a pivotal and key research study, Photobiomodulation (PBM) and Inflammation. Given positive results it is anticipated that PBM will be nationally acknowledged as an effective intervention for symptoms of COVID-19, an inflammatory illness. The frist study focuses on using Photobiomodulation (PBM) on a regular basis to reduce inflammation expressed as pain and improved quality of life with individuals without COVID-19. Eventually A second Part of the study will be focused on individuals who have been infected with COVID-19 and are using PBM.

Preliminary results from informal testimonials show improvement with reduced symptoms in a very short time frame. Based on these early signs of positive effects our Institutional Review Board encouraged us to include how PBM effects COVID-19 symptoms in our study… and so we have.

Group A of the study captures the results from consistent use of PBM to remediate pain and discomfort, signs of inflammation, but COVID free. COVID-19 is an inflammatory illness and this data provides the backbone for the second category of study;

Future Studies Group B and C are Temperarily Paused.

Thank you for participating.

I note that I just straight up cut and pasted the text above.

So let me get this straight. This “COVID Light Therapy” study doesn’t even yet study patients with COVID-19? Worse, it doesn’t have a control group and appears to rely on only subjective measures? Most acupuncture studies aren’t even this bad. At least, it sure seems that way, as I couldn’t find anything resembling a detailed protocol anywhere.

I searched for “photobiomodulation,” and there were a number of studies there, including for Alzheimer’s disease, muscle performance, plantar fasciitis, and even breast cancer-related lymphedema. I even found four studies looking at PBM for COVID-19, which I found depressing. Two of these studies were completed; so I searched PubMed to see if their results have been published yet. One of the studies was carried out in Massachusetts and had an orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine doctor named Scott Sigman as its principal investigator (PI), who’s also shown up on TV promoting an unconvincing case report in which the patient, although mostly recovered, still has debilitating symptoms. In any event, reported preliminary results for ten patients showed significant differences in pulmonary outcomes, but it’s hard to know what to make of this given an open label trial in only ten patients. The other study was done in Brazil and looked at the use of LLLT on respiratory muscles in COVID-19. No results have been published yet, and the studies PI only has one publication listed in PubMed from 2014. The bottom line is simple. There is as yet no compelling evidence that LLLT is effective at treating or preventing COVID-19 to support the extravagant claims made on the COVID Light Therapy website. It’s possible that the treatment might have some beneficial effect, but there’s no convincing evidence yet, and the mechanisms proposed are so convoluted as to remain implausible to me.

The mention of an IRB, though, piqued my interest. Which IRB? Who would support a study that’s not even as good as, for instance, Dr. Sigman’s highly preliminary study based on rather underwhelming rationale? Then I found this letter to the IRB of the Institute of Regenerative and Cellular Medicine, which looks to be a for-profit IRB specifically designed for stem cell clinics to use to oversee their “clinical trials.” Given the way that such clinics have registered highly dubious and uninformative clinical trials in order to turn into a marketing tool, this doesn’t look good. IRCM’s IRB is run by Dr. Barbara Krutchkoff, who is on the Board of Advanced Natural Health, where her bio states:

Her diverse educational background includes physics and computer science at the University of Florida, biomedical engineering graduate studies at Virginia Tech, a PhD in behavioral psychology and a Master of Psychology at University of Santa Monica. Barbara received her Doctorate in integrative medicine after studying dozens of healing modalities including Homeopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Energy Medicine, and Quantum Biofeedback.

She has taken numerous medical and data science courses online via major universities and at conferences throughout the world, and Stem Cell Fellowships at both A4M and UCLA.

Barbara is a board-certified Diplomat and Fellow of the AABRM and a member of the World Organization of Natural Medical Practitioners.

In other words, she’s a multiquackery quack, including a stem cell quack. Now get a load of the letter by Marcia Marye Denton of the MDD Wellness Group to this dubious IRB:

We are living in turbulent times, dangerous times, heartbreaking times. When we look at the standard safety measures to prevent COVID-19 infections we can only stand in awe and wonder at the efficacy of our face masks, efforts at social distancing and isolation/staying home.

What if we have an intervention that could mitigate if not protect us from this incredible stealthy virus, enhance our innate immune system…provide an intervention not just fragile prevention.

What if we have it and it is currently cleared as safe by the FDA for use to reduce pain and increase circulation …but is not yet cleared to reduce inflammation even though we see evidence of this all the time? What if a simple study shows just that! It reduces inflammation…and therefore could mitigate the effects of COVID-19 an inflammatory illness.

COVID-19 when not inhibited, explodes inside the body with unrelenting and devastating effects especially in the most vulnerable, elders and children…many times even leads to death.

Photobiomodulation (PBM) (Light Therapy) is that intervention. The science of inflammation teaches us that if inflammation is reduced then pain is reduced…exactly what we, as Light Therapy Practitioners, have been providing for years.

The purpose of this study is to demonstrate that Photobiomodulation reduces inflammation simply by applying red and infrared wavelengths of light to the body. Using the HSCRP marker for inflammation, with a pre/post blood draw, a reduction can be easily measured.

With that data we will apply for an Emergency Use Authorization to promote the use of PBM as both an intervention and a prevention for individuals at risk for exposure to or infection of COVID-19. Given the EUA we do not run the risk of making false claims and being removed from the opportunity to provide profound benefit again in these turbulent time, dangerous times, heartbreaking times.

I must admit that I laughed out loud when I saw this pitch for a study of COVID Light Therapy. Where are the references? Where are the preliminary data, preclinical and/or clinical? Where is the mention that this “study” is “limited to Hope Counseling Staff and employees and their spouses”?

But, hey, maybe you’ve been convinced. Maybe you know you want to use COVID Light Therapy not just for COVID-19 but for lots of other things. Maybe you—yes, you!—want to buy the necessary equipment. Fear not! The COVID Light Therapy Package will only set you back $599, while the Red+ Photopuncture Torch Kit will only cost you $525. Hard up for cash? If you don’t mind leaving out the infrared light, you can get yourself a Red Photopuncture Torch Kit for a steal, just $299! What a bargain.

All I can say after reading all about COVID Light Therapy is the same thing I say all too often. Grifters gonna grift, and, in the age of COVID-19, everything old is new again.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

87 replies on “COVID-19 Light Therapy: Old quackery repurposed”

WOW, Orac, Im triggered

You call yourself an oncologist, yet attack the future cure for cancer in the name of “science”

I see, you gotta grift right? I heard oncologists have huge profit margins on chemotherapy drugs. And I have noticed cancer is still not curable after youve been an oncoligist for 75 years…sigh

But I guess I must agree that the Phase3 RCT proof is not yet there.
But you dont seem to worry bout the phase3 RCT proof for lockdowns and masking. At least you are at the least an average scientist, with your proper cherrypicking skills.

The COVID light therapy being sold is not photodynamic therapy, which has fairly limited utility anyway, and COVID is not cancer.?

Im so disappointed in you, Orac

My own anecdotal experience proves light therapy works (for my incurable brain condition) Its not a stretch that light therapy will cure virtually anything in the future, I think it can even help with autism or cancer.

I have done the research. Read and weep as you will be schooled
its a miracle cure all as these bestsellers explain. Have you ever written a book Orac? Light medicine will end all disease.
NASA agrees it is useful for ppl on chemo, why arent you excited? I would suspect you being part of a conspiracy to suppress light medicine, the medicine of the future, because its so cheap.
heres a summary of the results of thousands of studies(I think its called a meta-analysis) that provides more proof
pretty sure it cures/prevents balding, though I would rather purchase Vielight, because I dont make much money atm, and cant buy everything.

Also, tons of devices are FDA-approved, no need to listen to me, it just works, listen to the FDA.

btw what is IRB and EUA?


Paleomom? Really? I have four kids and eight grandkids and was primarily a stay-at-home Mom who also got a degree in Anthropology and actually studied, you know, THE REAL PALEOLITHIC, but this idea of tacking MOM onto any old wild-hair-up-your-ass notion and thinking it lends credibility needs to stop.

I was cured of my Stage IV colon cancer. No light involved, though i do live in New Mexico where I get unhealthy amounts of UV.

” First, it is not possible to differentiate between active sun exposure habits and a healthy lifestyle,”
Well that’s a bit of a limitation right there when you’re looking at death from cardiovascular disease.

Second, at no point in the entire study did they discuss sunscreen use by the participants. Plenty of people sunbathe while wearing sunscreen.

I’m amazed that no one brought this up when they were developing the study.

But if you want to go out and hang out at the beach in a speedo to tan your cheeks, go for it.

You must be taking the piss, Q. You do realise that the sunlight seaking behaviours will include exercise don’t you?

I guess there isn’t any point in telling Q-ball that his study was not about red or infrared light but UV light, which is at the other end of the spectrum?

Guys, they followed 20.000 ppl for over 20 years. The evidence is clear and those details dont matter. Trust me. If youre gonna nitpick, nitpick the lack of validity in masking and lockdown studies. Im still waiting for the massacre in republican red states, so that democrats will win all future elections.
Also when are religious communities like amish gonna go extinct even tho not following any rules.

Any moment now….

“So why does bill gates want to block the sunlight?”

I must agree that this prospect disgusts me. Sulfur dioxide, chalk, whatever to haze up the sky is repugnant and, imho, stupid. I already can’t see the stars because street lights and don’t want the day blue sky fucked up as well.

Volcanoes do it, Pinatubo did it; Ohhh, we got data. Perhaps they think to limit it to the poles, the high and low latitudes. Ohh, shit… Snowpiercer has joined the chat….

Why would religious communities go extinct?

Covid doesnt kill everyone, so even if an entire community all caught it they wouldn’t all die. If you are happy with losing a few elders and a few people with health complications then say so.

Maybe the USA should adopt chinas communism as well. Chinas lockdown and masking is different from the western type and maybe thats the key.

P.S. heres an example of ORAC hate speech

I do not wait massacres in red states. They are actually as probable than you proving Einstein wrong.

Which cancer is “still not curable after youve been an oncoligist for 75 years”?

Some cancers are curable. Some cancers are very treatable.

It’s not one disease.

Q-ball, This reply is in response is a reply to your April 1, 3:49 Comment.
I looked at the last 3 links you provided. They all describe cases where light therapy could be useful for cancer. But # 4 and 6 require an antibody to stick to a cancer cell and a photosensitizing agent to be attached to the antibody. When the light is turned on the light energy acts with the photosensitizing agent to destroy the cell. None of these 3 articles suggest infrared light alone is useful for treating cancer. The 5th link again had a photosensitizing agent. When one posts multiple irrelevant links to make their point they have reason to question their judgement on the issue. I recall my friend had post surgical pain and a reputable hospital charged them or their insurance for someone with a red pen light to shine on the scar for a minute or two. They were quite disappointed with their quackery. It is exceedingly unlikely that red light is useful for Covid based on the research cited by the Photonic Therapy Institute because the links Orac checked for their therapy were weak and irrelevant like the three of yours I checked.


Joov machines are FDA approved for pain, so that makes sense. but using a small pen light doesnt make sense. it maybe underpowered, like many other devices on Alibaba, (only way to verify is using special meters or independent research, cant trust listed specifications)

You see, light is complex and under researched, and there are many scammers. gotta use critical thinking skills.

Let me explain further why its a cure for Alzheimers and a gazillion other incurable diseases: mitochondria, ATP. Note that red is part of the spectrum of sunlight, which is alrdy proven to be a safe medicine through rigorous science.

Im very bad at math, but my intuition is usually right. We can reverse engineer it from the video, though I wont give you any hints as it has military applications. Elon Musk is dressing up a very fancy horse and carriage and about to be disrupted by the Model T.
But first science needs to lose the obsession with white supremacist math to move forward.

Orac has stopped learning and is comfortable staying in his comfort zone. Cant even recognize the medicine of the future. SAD!
He would rather attack BiPoCs like Bility and Mercola (passing) from his ivory tower for fun as a hobby, despite the underrepresentation of BiPoCs in STEM.

How many BiPoCs do you have as close friends, Orac? How much reparations are you going to pay Bility for that hate speech?
When are you going to learn about your white fragility?

@QBall Birkeland was Norwegian, so you actually speak against yourself. I before did know Billity’s race before I was informed. But I do know rubbish when I saw it.

I meant that I did not know Billity’s race before I was told.

Quisling sez:

Let me explain further why its a cure for Alzheimers and a gazillion other incurable diseases: mitochondria, ATP. Note that red is part of the spectrum of sunlight, which is alrdy proven to be a safe medicine through rigorous science.

Nothing you linked to explained why light therapy is going to cure anything, Quisling. None of the links included anything about light therapy, or ATP, near as I can tell. This was a non-explanation. Gamma rays are not red light or infrared, and they were used to cause the damage to the mitochondria, not cure it.

Also, Quisling, falsely claiming that Joe Mercola is BIPoC is no better than falsely claiming he is Jewish.

Q-Ball I commented on your April 1st at 3:49 AM post saying I checked the last 3 links and all were irrelevant to the idea that IR light alone treats cancer.
When you throw out 3 links having nothing to do with your claim you waste the readers time and diminish your credibility. It makes the reader wonder you have the capacity to understand what facts are relevant to an issue. In response to my April 2nd 3:17 PM post
you offered 5 more links April 2nd at 6:09 PM. I am not reading those new links in your unless you can pick one of the three links and explain what it that link says to support your claim that cancer is treatable by IR light without those chemicals and antibodies.

Other readers. I suspect this is a futile exercise to encourage Q-ball review the only three links I had the patience to read and possibly admit they were not evidence that IR light cures cancer. This is one strategy I have when faced with a Gish Gallop of extroardanary claims. Pick a claim and have them defend it before moving on to anything else. I suspect the reply will be something about mitochondria being activated to make more ATP even though that was not the mechanism killing cancer in those 3 links.

No love for the Vielight Nose Torches, to stimulate the performance of your brain by illuminating it with IR piped up through your nose and through the ethmoid bone? I am disappoint.

Some company called Suyzeko sells an 810 nm IR LED lined helmet for a mere $2995 that treats everything because the IR light penetrates the skulll to reach the brain. How do I know? Well, it says so in their FAQ section:

Have you found that your machine is able to actually penetrate the brain?

Yes, we have got a lot of research to prove this thoery which 810nm light can penetrate the brian.

Well, thank goodness they “got a lot” to prove their “thoery” showing their IR light can penetrate Brian’s skull. I’m sold.

You know, if they want to heat up the brain then microwaves would do a far better job. Mmmmm, brain soup.

Damn. By comparison the COVID Light Therapy device is a steal!

Anyway, light therapy quackery is a very old form of quackery. Quacks love to cite science behind, for instance, photodynamic therapy, confident that the audience has no idea that their devices are not photodynamic therapy and have nothing to do with photodynamic therapy, which, by the way, has been effective in only a relatively small number of fairly uncommon clinical conditions. As for photobiomodulation, my reading of the scientific literature for it is that its proponents make a lot of claims for it based on some interesting basic science findings, but as of yet no convincing clinical trial evidence shows that it works for the conditions targeted. Heck, there’s not even very much low quality clinical trial evidence that it works. PBM is, however, very popular in the “anti-aging” area of medicine, where plastic surgeons, dermatologists, and “alternative health” mavens sell light therapy as a “rejuvenating” and “immune boosting” treatment. My guess is that this sort of treatment is probably good for something, but it’s obvious that there’s no compelling evidence that it’s effective against COVID-19, nor is there scientific plausibility to suggest that it should be.

Rest assured that the Vielight grifters have a helmet (or really a bejazzled IR-tiara) too:

The Neuro is the worlds first transcranial-intranasal combination light therapy helmet system. It is based on the science of photobiomodulation, the utilization of photonic energy to stimulate cellular function in neurons. It directs pulsed near infrared light (NIR) to the hubs of the default mode network [ video ] (DMN) of the brain using optimally engineered light emitting diodes (LED).

Regenerates neurons! Cures migraines, insomnia, Alzheimers, Parkinsons, schizophrenia, cognitive impairment!

The Neuro Alpha and Neuro Gamma incorporate newer and improved transcranial LED diodes. The only difference between the two models is the pulse rate – The Neuro Alpha pulses at 10 Hz but the Neuro Gamma pulses at 40 Hz. The Gammas pulse rate is utilized for our Alzheimers Disease clinical trials and the Neuro Alphas pulse rate is ideal for general brain health, based on brainwave oscillations

In comparison, the Valkee fibre-optic ear-plugs (for stimulating the temporal lobes) only promised improved sports performance. Not so ambitious, though they did get funding from the Finnish Gubblement.

The advantage of the nose-plug approach to cerebral illumination is that any light that does not filter up through the cribiform plate into the brain will be scattered back down and out the other nostril, providing useful illumination if one happens to be reading an atlas during the long polar night, while illustrating the concept of sinus-oidal projection.

Now I have given myself an ear-worm of Howard Devoto singing “The light pours out of me”. Perhaps a couple of Valkee ear-torches will drive it away.

@ Christopher Hickie

showing their IR light can penetrate Brian’s skull

Poor Brian. Everybody seems to want to put things through him.

@ Smut Clyde

The advantage of the nose-plug approach […] out the other nostril, providing useful illumination

And if you put the plug on the nostril closer to any partner sharing your bed, the illumination will be focused on the opposite site, minimizing any hindering of their sleep by your light show.
(now, they may feel like they are sleeping next to Dark Vador, with your nose being half-plugged)

To sum up, this Nano particle, which can be called neither live nor non-live, is perhaps a flick or inspiration; proud and intoxicating human knowledge should attain the highest point of growth and excellence and be severely challenged so that a revolution in science is created and it warns the human beings to be prepared for the tougher challenges coming in future. We should help each other out in any field, see each other as one, be holistic, get out of our rooms and aquariums, and take a more holistic look at science so that the ship of life on this beautiful planet continues its tranquil journey to a beautiful horizon, and be prepared to face any kind of natural or unnatural turbulence.

I don’t know whether that is better suited as a substitute for actual salad or as a substitute for syrup of ipecac.

Photobioconfabulation it is. Though I though it was UV light down my trachea that was gonna de-covdiate me. Now I gotta put a red light up my nose as well? I think their true color is $hining through: GREEN.

Oh, I’m sure it’s out there, given the obsession quacks have with bowel movements.

Wasn’t butthole tanning the big thing last year right before the pandemic hit?
So, close.

For an extra $999 fee we will customize your light therapy to be either waves or particles, but not both.

Does it include the tracking option? Whenever I am traveling with the basic emitter, I know it’s moving with me but I am unable to remember in which part of my luggage I put it.

For an extra fee we offer entanglement. That way, wherever you look for it you’ll find it.

Covid Light Therapy shares a website template and street address with MMD Wellness, which appears to have one and only “staff member” the aforementioned Marcie Denton. That street address, in Kerrville, TX, is the location of a business called The Fitness Center, which lists a staff of five: a swimming teacher, a (possibly legit?) nutritionist, a reiki master, a massage therapist offering “Healing Touch (energy medicine)”, and

Light Therapy with Marcie Denton, MA, Med. Light Therapy promotes natural healing processes by focusing specific wavelengths of light on specific areas of the body. Whether your ailment is arthritis, diabetes, an aching back, or allergies, she likely has a solution for you!

The Photonic Therapy Institute, similarly, appears to be a side hustle of one Kay Aubrey-Chimene, whose main business appears to be the Grand Adventures Ranch, a “holistic wellness center” for horses. The specialty at Grand Adventures appears to be ‘Equine Photopuncture’, which seems to be quite a thing, given that the PTI website lists four other equine light therapists from various parts of the country in addition to Ms. Aubrey-Chimene.

The Balanced Horse is able to scan and use light to reduce pain and increase blood flow in horses for optimal performance, tune-ups and energy.

The ‘Institute’ seems dedicated to branching out the benefits of Light Therapy to humans by selling the associated devices and courses in how to use them.

Because we love light and will teach you to use any light therapy device you have – we are not a manufacturer and give unbiased education for ALL species. We want to spread the word about the benefits of healing with light and help you get started quickly and affordably… Our staff are all certified in Photopuncture (Acupuncture with Light) and Light Therapy for Horses, Humans and Pets. We have teamed up with the top names in Energy Therapies to bring you the best, most effective education program today. Our goal is to help you achieve amazing results using any light therapy devise on yourself, your family, your horses and your pets!

That sounds so cool! Maybe Narad and I should offer to help them out by doing some feline light therapy research, shining red light up the noses of our cats. With informed consent of the cats, of course. /s

Yeah, I didn’t go into all the detail about the grifters and the grift because I found it amusing enough to concentrate mostly on the cherry picked and dubious science being used to justify the grift. It is, however, even more amusing to go into these details, and perhaps I should have done that…

Well, the cherry picked and dubious science is your beat.

I find it interesting that you use the word “amusing” because I don’t necessarily think of COVID quackery and/or abuse of scientific research to be lighthearted matters. Maybe it’s just my personal history, as my mom was taken in by a few (non-medi-woo) grifters in her later years. But I guess I take pseudoscience to be a genuine social problem, and sites like RI, SBM, etc. as trying at least in part to reduce harm by debunking spiels that might be sciency-seeming enough to dupe lay folk. Amusement might come along with that, but I wouldn’t take that as the primary purpose. At least not of the skeptic project as a whole…

One issue I’ve had over the years reading posts here and at SBM is that the debunkings of the pseudoscience don’t give me any idea of where that pseudoscience sits on the social-problem scale. That is, some of the woo clearly has sucked in a lot of devotees, and fueled one or more very successful grifts. On the other hand, digging a bit deeper into some of the woo offerings covered here reveals that they were naught but wildly ‘aspirational’ pipe dreams that utterly failed to draw adherents or sales. The comments typically suggest otherwise, an assumption that the general gullibility of the populace leads the woo being discussed to actually reward the woo-ist financially. But clearly some of these schemes leave the operator with nothing but bills for web-hosting and debt from the purchase of a garage full of magic-machine-whatits that couldn’t be sold to anyone outside of a handful of acquaintances.

Which is just to say that most get-rich-quick and/or save-the-world schemes of any ilk fail miserably, and there is something comic in that, (though also a sort of pathos if you look at it from a different angle). Anyway, the nature of my own interests in woos lead me to want to know which ones are just comic/pathetic, and which ones are dangerous, however laughable some of their spiel may be to those who know the real science.

Re-reading my comment above, I see it all comes off as finding the light therapy woo funny, but that wasn’t in my head until the end, trying to come up with a cat joke that might give Narad a chuckle. Before that, my attitude was just more ‘objective reporting’. My curiosity about who was behind the Covid Light Therapy site had actually been piqued by the exchange in the comments of the Disinfo Dozen post, where you wondered whether Q-Ball was being sarcastic, and Narad suggested the site might be parody. On that day, when i clicked Q-Balls link, the Covid Light Therapy site loaded with a pop-up banner that said something like, ‘Protect yourself by wearing a mask, washing your hands, maintaining social distance, and shining red light up your nose every day!”. I say ‘something like’ because it no longer appears. But it did read as a joke to me, though nothing else on the page struck me as being in a similar vein. So I used Google to see what references I could find to MMD Wellness and the Photonic Therapy Institute indicating that they were ‘real’ operations or Landsboro Baptist-esque fakes.

Anyway, it’s real, but relatively small time. I have no idea whether they’ll succeed in selling their gear and ‘courses’, but I have to say it strikes me as a pretty ambitious project for a woman who runs a horse farm and another who shares a workplace with wooists as comparatively mundane as a reiki master and therapeutic touch-er. I mean, I’m sort of perversely impressed that they were able to dress this up with all the mis-cited studies, the sketchy IRB, etc. etc…

“shining red light up the noses of our cats.”

No need for all that. Cat lays by open hearth, cat purrs, criteria met.

I’ve always felt that long-wave ir off a fire was healing and very much so after a broken bone. I hate that everyone has a glass panel in front now which converts it to teraHz* and there is no irradiated comfort at all — Since I hate it so much, I’ll just say that I think those ‘decorative’ gas log fireplaces and their insidious down-conversion of the IR causes cancer.

*it’s great for watching you inside your house from space, though.

shining red light up the noses of our cats.

Won’t work. The cat will spend the whole time chasing the light until they disappear up their own nostrils.

So, a red laser pointer up the nose is the cure for all ills?

Good grief.

Holy crap! Energy therapy/ energy medicine! Shades of Rife!

I seem to be seeing many photo-therapy or electrical therapy devices for sale to the general public ( w/o rx) and imagine that a significant proportion of them are non- or minimally effective. Electro-acupuncture ( it may be TENS), various “red light” therapies for pain/ injury, laser caps for hair loss, skin care. Not cheap either.

“it may be TENS”

I got some really big muscles in high school using that — it was an 8 ohm to 20k ohm audio transformer plugged into a stereo. It had some filtering (because, before, voices hurt alot) and a DC bias. Depending on the volume, you could have ten people holding hands and never failing to react to the beat. It was quite the local rage around here and I even got mail to send one to a soldier in Iraq. I had an accident once where a beat hit whilst I was adjusting the volume and it locked me up; I freed myself be shorting the handles out on the screen fishtank cover. After that, the failsafe became a single strand that would break away by just falling backward. It was a little disconcerting to observe selenium crystals growing out of my right hand. If you put one handle under your armpit, your arm becomes uncontrollable and you might beat yourself to death with it.

There is now a device which clips onto the little protusion on the bottom of the earlobe — it is supposed to give access to some nerve that goes all the way into the gut and it is claimed good for depression and pretty much everything else. It uses microsecond pulses at a certain repetition rate which, if I dig out my electronics books, should be pretty easy to replicate with cheap timing chips but I procrastinate.

^^ probably crap

The link to the “promising one” is dead on my other machine I dropped a keyboard into.

Looking over comments since yesterday, I notice that there haven’t been any trolls or contrarians in the mix for nearly 18 hours !
Can it be that they are all truly religious Christians or Jews OR are comments merely stuck?

Yesterday was April Fools, and that’s their day to shine. Today is Good Friday, and they’re trying to behave. The respite in our daily entertainment is temporary.

Right, as soon as I posted I saw that it was no longer true. As usual

BUT in happier news:
I went grocery shopping and partially heard an announcement about Covid vaccines so I asked the clerk packing my bag if it were so. She said yes and to call or go online to make an appointment. I called as soon as I got home- the pharmacist said to come in NOW- he had two left over not assigned to store workers so I went back..
J&J- one and done Total time 45 minutes.


They’ll be back. They always come back. And since it’s April, I’m sure we’ll be subjected to screeds about the evils of Autism awareness and how it doesn’t apply to their kids, when what they really mean is that it doesn’t center parents/caretakers, and those types can’t abide it when it’s not all about them.

Although they often profess expertise in medicine/ bio – either personally or by way of their gurus- if you think about it-
they leave out the entire section about how vaccines are safe, tested and affect public health immensely
which is a major part of modern SB medicine
So where did they learn that? Not in school
If you accept anti-vax talking points, you can’t claim expertise in medical fields…

“Christopher Hickiesays:
April 1, 2021 at 8:51 pm

I wouldn’t put it past one of them to buy a carton of these and print up new directions reversing the direction the light shines.”


Great for diverticulitis or polyps? ;-]

You mentioned light therapy and hair regrowth. Indeed, there is a tv commercial frequently aired selling a ballcap with built-in lights to give you a full head of hair. But if these gizmos you discuss are put in the mouth, does one wind up with a hairy tongue? My nose is already hairy, so sticking it in my nose wouldn’t make a noticeable difference.

Today, a WaPo article had a passing reference to “Photonx, a company that according to its website uses variable wavelengths of light ‘to treat specific pathogenic and chronic diseases.’” It is, predictably, a hoot.

Their main site is kind of broken, but the menu-thingy at upper right allows for some navigation:

The Monotube Sublingual Applicator delivers multiple photonic wavelengths into the vascular bed of the sublingual region. The specific target of the sublingual therapy is the Dorsal Lingual artery and/or Dorsal Lingual veins. The Monotube Applicator has a single branch that targets the sublingual vasculature on a single side of the frenulum.


Just came across your post. Noticed that it must be an April’s Fools joke. However, apparently not. But, at the time of your post, you were missing some information. PBM has been tested on humans, suffering from severe lung inflammation. Though it was a small intervention sample study, it was also compared with a control group. I took place in early summer, 2020. ” Clinical Research Review Committee of the Lowell General Hospital (Massachusetts, USA) approved the clinical protocol for PBMT treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia. All patients provided written informed consent for participation in this trial. A preliminary 10 patient study was approved by the hospital. Patients were assigned to the PBMT group (standard medical care plus adjunctive PBMT) or control group (standard medical care) using the Sealed Envelope computer application (Table 1). There was no masking of the treatment group, and the study was performed in an open-label fashion. Inclusion criteria were: SARS-CoV-2 infection confirmed by nasopharyngeal swab and RT-PCR on an Abbott ID system upon hospitalization, age 18–90 years, and pulmonary compromise requiring oxygen support. Patients had to be able to self-prone or support themselves in a self-sitting position to facilitate the administration of PBMT. Exclusion criteria included patients who required ventilator management, those with autoimmune disorders or inflammatory conditions not related to COVID-19, and pregnancy. The trial was conducted in accordance with the Declaration of Helsinki.” … The study write-up is found here. Also, there is an interesting interview that is viewable here, that speaks to the core investigators involved in this study, and a testimony from one of the patients, who recovered. And, HC has also granted an approved clinical study to be conducted, of a similar protocol, for a group size up to 40 people, which is yet to be conducted, due to some falling case count numbers, which is also a good sign overall. Maybe the light will be shining more, and not less.

At least listen to the interview, with the actual people involved in the study. I also have some contact with these two laser researchers and clinicians.. Another researcher in PBM that is of high regard is Reem Hanna, as well as Praveen Arany, and Michael R. Hamblin. There are layers of depth here that I believe you may only be glossing over, unfortunately. Another parallel study was performed in the Czech Republic, shortly after the first couple case study reports were released, which included 26 COVID patients. They found similar results to the Dr. Sigman study, with the same type of laser machine. View this short video of the highlights. There is really so much to dig into here. “Increased levels of IL-1β (central role in the initiation of the inflammatory processes), IL-6 (pleiotropic cytokine, increased in the lungs and plasma) with key role in acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) pathophysiology, and IL-8, proved to be linked with persistent inflammation and poor prognosis in ARDS patients. PBM significantly reduced the severity of ARDS by decreasing the IL-1β, IL-6 (both in the lungs and plasma), and IL-8 (in the lungs), also lowering the mortality rate [289].” (Mouse model study) The study citation is here:

J Photochem Photobiol B, . 2014 May 5;134:57-63.
doi: 10.1016/j.jphotobiol.2014.03.021. Epub 2014 Apr 4.
“Low level laser therapy reduces acute lung inflammation in a model of pulmonary and extrapulmonary LPS-induced ARDS”, Manoel Carneiro Oliveira Jr 1 , Flávia Regina Greiffo 1 , Nicole Cristine Rigonato-Oliveira 1, et. al.
There is so much more too, in case you change your mind. Assuming this will not be overwhelming to you, as you have already done some digging to write your blog. Cheers.

You could start with “LPS induced ARDS”. LPSs are endotoxins excreted by some Gram negative bacteria. So this is not relevant to COVID. Secondly it is mouse study, no patients were involved.

One more comment, regarding PBM in general, and in its broad applications. Please read, (you, and all of the fellow commentators), this following article by Prof. Praveen Arany, for a great breakdown of various nuances of light therapy, its categories, and areas of research. Then, at least you will have a better understanding of the subject matter of photobiomodulation. It can be a launching pad to become better informed, and potentially direct further inquiry of the evidence-based data that is being pursued, in this developing and overlapping science field of photonics and its applications.

Please read, (you, and all of the fellow commentators), this following article by Prof. Praveen Arany,

Jesus Christ. He’s a fucking dentist. Go away.

I realized that this thread is now old news, but I would like to add another study link that is PBM related, getting into the ‘nuts and bolts’ of what could be behind it – PBM mechanisms. There is something to the Nitric Oxide (NO) release, as proposed to the original ‘quacks’ that you have been referring to. It may still be theoretical, but there are researchers who are also seeking to nail it down with empirical data too. There is some empirical data and rationale that suggests that PBM could, and should be helpful for reversing the ‘cytokine storms’ that some COVID patients have challenges with. There are cardio conditions that NO (nitric oxide) presence can be beneficial, such as in hypoxic conditions. There may be some overlap here with COVID-19 severe symptoms and secondary pathology outcomes. Try reviewing this article for more information. “What Lies at the Heart of Photobiomodulation: Light, Cytochrome C Oxidase, and Nitric Oxide—Review of the Evidence”, Brendan J. Quirk, PhD1 and Harry T. Whelan, MD1 There is always more to learn, and room to also question one’s own assumptions too. Harry T. Whelan has been in this field for a long time already.

Are you transparent ? Ligth stops at the skin, or mucosa. Cytokine storm actually releases NO, and causes damage. More of it means more damage,

For those who are into reading journal articles, here is a very interesting study (human patients), that has tested Vit. B2 (riboflavin), activated by UVA/Blue VIS light, (a form of photodynamic therapy) to reduce viral loads in the nose and throats of patients, and compared against a control group. This may also sound like ‘quakery’, but it wasn’t. And, it also refers to other studies that are exploring nitric oxide applications with the corona virus load reduction levels, possibly sourced from irradiances. New research studies may often appear as quakery, but it is often based on implications and hypotheses from prior knowledge and experiences.

It was very unspecific. “All patients showed improvement”. Why do you think that riboflavin needs activation ? It is active as such.

PDT (photodynamic therapy) is a reactive process, highly charged electron states are generated and released, to cause singlet oxygen molecules to be released – to be a targeted (selectively) area where a photo-sensitiser has been administered. It is generally inert on its own, but triggered but particular light wavelengths, dependent on a compound’s characteristics. So happens that RB is triggered with a safer UVA wavelength (approx. 375 nm), as well as by blue (450 nm), safe for human patients. (It is also triggered by some UVB and UVC peak wavelengths, but it would be too dangerous to apply such light to human patients for any period of time without causing harm). So, it is about selective triggering a local response to the area of concern. … in regards to the quick comment “It’s always the dentist” … please show me evidence -based reasons why it is not so. This is supposedly a ‘science-based’ medicine blog, is it not? Flippant retorts are meaningless, and also fall into unjustified non-scientific realms. It is not merely some researchers in dentistry that know something about photobiomodulation. Let me leave for now with another article abstract link to consider. “The effect of red-to-near-infrared (R/NIR) irradiation on inflammatory processes”, Tomasz Walski 1 2 , Krystyna Dąbrowska 1 3 , Anna Drohomirecka 4 , Natalia Jędruchniewicz 1 , Natalia Trochanowska-Pauk 1 2 , Wojciech Witkiewicz 1 , Małgorzata Komorowska 1 2 (International Journal of Radiation Biology,Volume 95, 2019 – Issue 9 ) This may also lend some support for assisting with reducing factors that are promoting a “cytokine storm” condition in COVID-19 patients, as it has been experimentally studied in the USA, in France (early in the pandemic – couple case studies), and in the Czech Republic. This is not to any suppress vaccines uptake avenues, which is preventative, but as a potential therapeutic avenue that has shown some statistically significant improvements in biomarkers, even in a small sample sized study. It still is a new field of study, and not all of the mechanics behind it are ironed out yet. But, there is significant work being done to isolate and clarify the complexity of it, for successful outcomes.

It was again: phototherapy induces pro-imflammatory signal moleccules, but then somehow reduces cytokine storm. How is this ?
Actually cytokine storm causes release of NO, which in turn damages blood vessels. More NO would not help.

In response to Aarno S. Thanks for your question. It is complex, and a bit disorienting, but NO is not the only thing that PBM brings to the therapeutic mechanisms. NO is a signaling molecule too, and PBM also has been shown to stimulate anti-inflammatory effects, down-regulating /reducing specific interleukins that are associated with inflammation (eg. IL-6, regularly found in COVID-19 patients) and immune responses. I would like to point you to a summary chart from a review article by Reem Hanna, in the context of PBM and PDT as a possible therapeutic tool for reducing Cytokine storm in COVID-19 patients. (Part of Table2 in the article.) Sourced article is found here. , “Understanding COVID-19 Pandemic: Molecular Mechanisms and Potential Therapeutic Strategies. An Evidence-Based Review”, Authors Hanna R, Dalvi S, Sălăgean T, Pop ID, Bordea IR, Benedicenti S

Received 16 September 2020

Accepted for publication 29 October 2020

Published 7 January 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 13—56


It is still phototherapy reduces inflatopry signaling, period.How rthis happens ?

Received 16 September 2020

Accepted for publication 29 October 2020

Yah. JIR is not stiking me as particularly reliable (e.g., this; PDF).

Correction, Aarno S. (Table 3) of the article, not Table 2. Lower part of the table has been captured in the link. (Re: Understanding COVID-19 Pandemic: Molecular Mechanisms …” article. Here is also a portion of this article, under Future, Noninvasive Therapy: “The Rationale for Use of PBMT (Laser and LEDs) in COVID-19
The role of PBMT in modulating the molecular and cellular activities plays a significant part in achieving the optimal therapeutic outcomes.190,195 Experimental studies utilizing murine models of acute airway and lung inflammation have shown that PBMT reduces pulmonary microvascular leakage, IL-1β, IL-6, and intracellular ROS. On this note, PBMT as a single or adjunct treatment modality can modulate the cytokine storm and ARDS via its anti-inflammatory action196–199 and this has demonstrated the potential effect of PBMT in reducing the need for ventilators in patients with COVID-19.199,200”

Missed submitting my previous comment. Here are the links I was trying to refer to, Aarno S. Thanks for your previous question about NO and the apparent conflicting processes of PBM in the discussion. It is complicated, so, I was intending to refer you to a particular review article that has a fairly good handle on its content. It is a bit dated now, peer reviewed and published last fall. Here is the article link: Citation: Hanna R, Dalvi S, Sălăgean T, Pop ID, Bordea IR, Benedicenti S. Understanding COVID-19 Pandemic: Molecular Mechanisms and Potential Therapeutic Strategies. An Evidence-Based Review. J Inflamm Res. 2021;14:13-56 Table 3:

I may be running low on steam here, guys. If preliminary studies are able to clarify some processes through observations, and suggest there is sufficient rational to pursue its application in reducing lung inflammation, then this train of thought may be persuasive enough to convince others that it is valid research that it is worth pursuing, that it can (could) offer positive benefits, and it is safe. If I had a PhD in this, my attempts to explain may be more coherent too. But, I have been reading a lot about this, and though it is somewhat above my training and expertise, I strive to expand my understanding. Review articles also help to pull findings together from multiple studies and bring synergy to topics at hand. Another teaching section from another recent article I’ve been reading is found in the article “Probiotics, Photobiomodulation, and Disease Management: Controversies and Challenges”, Int J Mol Sci. 2021 May; 22(9): 4942.
Published online 2021 May 6. doi: 10.3390/ijms22094942, PMCID: PMC8124384, PMID: 34066560; Sections 6 and 7 teach about PBM applied to the gut-lung-brain axis, and how PBM may relate to COVID-19 in particular. Also, here is a Table (5) from this 7th section, that summarizes a variety of studies using PBM, that are referred to in those sections. As this is a growing field of knowledge, by learning more and more about the corona virus, it has been generating a record number of research studies in many diverse fields, and complementary disciplines, seeking answers and best practices to get through this current pandemic, and to be better equipped for any others in the future. Hope this is at least educational, and may broaden one’s own understandings and assumptions. Hope it explains PBM applications better than I can too. They seem to be rational and convincing enough to me.

Why were virus particles irradiated before experiment ? Irridiating cells before is not proper either.

Do you think that mice are transparent ?(Ligth go through transparent objects only) Cells in the culture actually are transparent,and thus very different.

Applied light does pass through some layers of skin tissue, and our cells do have photo-receptors in its structure, that can and does use it. There is a whole science, biophotonics, that is based on this. Blue light (400 – 450 nm) penetrates very shallow, may 1 mm, but as light moves towards the red spectrum, and beyond (near-infrared), this energy can penetration 10 mm and even further. If you shine a flashlight (white light) against your finger, you will see red light through your finger on the backside. (though all the visible colours were applied) So, red light travels further, and the other colours are absorbed (and blocked from exiting the finger). Skin is somewhat transparent, also allowing the light to travel. As light is emitted against the skin, some does enter, is received by the cells. There is over 60 years of research in this whole thing. A main photo receptor that has been proposed as a part of the photo mechanism is Cytochrome C, cytochrome C oxidase. (CCO). It is the mitochondria in the cells (the energy centres) that can receive light energy, and convert it into a bio-energy used for building and repairing parts of the cell. This is why light therapy can, and does assist in the repairing damage from injuries, and has been shown to speed up the healing process, both in time, as well as improving the final outcomes of injuries, better matrix forming at the skin level and less scarring. IF light does not penetrate through tissue at all, then there is a lot of explaining to do why numerous people, and animals heal faster and better overall, when light has been applied to a region of concern. There are thousands of studies, using low level laser light, and LEDs, and other light sources, demonstrating positive improvements for pain management, reduced inflammation (many different ‘itis’ es), skin conditions, even eye conditions, before and after surgeries, etc. Some of the previous study links point to some of these applications too. All you have to do is search and read under the topics of photobiomodulation, or LLLT, Light therapy, Red Light therapy, etc. There is literature with both high level language, and lower level language. Athletes and sports medicine have been applying light therapy to get their players on the field sooner than normal, helping them recover from injuries. Be quick to learn, before being quick to dismiss this science field. As of the first half of this year, there have been hundreds of published articles, under the search term ‘photobiomodulation’ in Pubmed, and it has been accelerating over the last 10 years.

Questioning the validity of claims is important if at the end of the day truth is to be left standing at the table if science. That said, this article in tone and tenor is remarkably biased, which discredits it. To begin with, during the Spanish Flu, dramatic improvements and containment of the outbreak were attributable to getting nurses and the infirm into the sun (then known as “Heliotherapy”). Then, we know that vitamin D, generated thru exposure to the Sun, is critical in reducing Covid associated complications and deaths, especially as a preventative. Then, it is well-known that various studies have over and over shown the effectiveness of light therapy regarding various illnesses and health problems, including seasonal affective disorder, eye deterioration, viral & microbial elimination, etc. (all depending on the exact range of the light spectrum applied). Research is now being conducted to further understand the effect of light therapy on Covid, like already published articles on treatments for lung damage, etc. The reader must research these things, instead of just believing the richly served up irony and sarcasm that accompanies the supposed debunking that this “article” contains.

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