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Neurodegenerative Disease: Causes, Symptoms, and Red Light Therapy

What are Neurodegenerative Diseases?

Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by the progressive degeneration and dysfunction of the nervous system. Inflammation is also a component of most degenerative diseases. These conditions affect the neurons, which are the building blocks of the nervous system, generally leading to a decline in cognitive function, movement, and overall neurological health.

These neurodegenerative diseases are chronic in nature and even with all the research, there is still no cure, making them a significant challenge for those who suffer from it as well as healthcare professionals. These conditions have proven to be quite difficult to treat, but studies to find viable therapeutic options for these debilitating conditions are ongoing.

Common Neurodegenerative Diseases, Characteristics and Therapy:

While each neurodegenerative disease has its own unique characteristics and progression patterns, they all share a common feature - the gradual deterioration of neurological function. Understanding the characteristics of these diseases can help researchers develop better treatments and interventions to improve patients' quality of life. The following are some of the most common among these diseases:

  • Alzheimer's Disease (AD) is a common form of dementia in older adults that causes behavioral changes, cognitive decline, and memory loss. Alzheimer’s Disease can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. The cause is unclear, but researchers believe it is due a combination of genetics and environmental elements. A study by The Internal Journal of Molecular Sciences on May 25, 2023 revealed that “Research has suggested that PBM therapy can support capillary-like structure formation by stimulating vascular endothelial growth factors. Therefore, by lowering blood pressure, PBM offers not only a potential therapeutic approach for AD that slows down the progression of symptoms, but also a preventative treatment that regulates a strong risk factor of AD.”

  • Parkinson's disease, which affects movement due to a loss of nerve cells and is characterized by stiffness, tremors and difficulty balancing. The cause seems to be attributed to genetic and environmental factors. A prospective proof of concept study from July 2021 showed some therapeutic promise with Red Light Therapy as it relates to Parkinson’s disease.

  • Huntington's disease is caused by a faulty gene that causes the progressive breakdown of nerve cells in the brain. This leads to movement disorders, cognitive decline, and psychiatric symptoms.

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease that affects nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles. ALS leads to muscle weakness, paralysis, and eventually respiratory failure. The cause is unknown, but genetic mutations, an adverse autoimmune response, or an overabundance of neurotransmitter glutamate are considerations.

  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS), also an autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system (CNS). It also causes damage to the protective covering of nerve fibers in the brain and spinal cord, resulting in a variety of symptoms including fatigue, difficulty walking, and numbness or tingling sensations. This may also be caused by either genetics or environmental factors such as where you live and the air you breathe. Lifestyle choices like smoking or drinking alcohol can also be contributing factors. A study from The National Library of Medicine on July 7, 2022 reveals that “PBM has positive effects on MS by regulating the inflammatory process, controlling immune cell activity and mitochondrial functions, as well as inhibiting free radicals production which finally leads to a reduction in neurological defects and an improvement in the functional status of patients.”

If you have been diagnosed with a neurogenerative disease by your doctor, Red Light Therapy might be a viable consideration as a complementary therapeutic option for your care.

Living with Neurodegenerative Diseases: Coping Strategies and Supportive Care:

Living with neurodegenerative diseases can be challenging for the individuals suffering from it, and their loved ones. These progressive conditions can impact a person's physical and cognitive abilities a great deal over time.

With the right coping strategies and supportive care, individuals can improve their quality of life and maintain a sense of independence for as long as possible by adding some of the following to your care plan:

  • Healthcare professionals specializing in neurology or geriatrics can provide medical guidance and prescribe appropriate medications or therapies.

  • The Wellness Center can provide complementary care through Red Light Therapy to ease some of the symptoms associated with neurodegenerative disease.

  • Support groups can be invaluable for individuals who want to connect with others facing similar challenges, share experiences, and exchange coping strategies.

  • Working with an occupational therapist to identify techniques to help you adapt, or even devices to assist with performing activities of daily living.

  • Counseling services can address stressful emotional concerns or in dealing with the progression of the disease.

The fight against neurodegenerative diseases requires a multi-faceted approach that includes both medical interventions and supportive care. While there is currently no cure for these conditions, supportive care is an important part of improving the quality of life in such cases.

While more studies are needed to fully understand its effectiveness, Red Light Therapy offers hope for future therapeutic interventions for neurodegenerative diseases.

A.J. Harewood

Contact The Wellness Center today to explore your options to start feeling better! We’re here to help!

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The information contained in this article, and information curated from third-party links are for informational purposes only and should not be used or interpreted as diagnosis or medial advice. It is your sole responsibility to consult with your medical doctor regarding any therapy plans or complementary care you might be considering for your personal medical care.


Abijo A, Lee C-Y, Huang C-Y, Ho P-C, Tsai K-J. The Beneficial Role of Photobiomodulation in Neurodegenerative Diseases. Biomedicines. 2023; 11(7):1828.


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