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Photomed Laser Surg. 2018 Oct 20. doi: 10.1089/pho.2018.4490. [Epub ahead of print]

Transcranial Photobiomodulation for the Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder. The ELATED-2 Pilot Trial.

Author information

1
1 Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, Massachusetts.
2
2 Center for Anxiety and Traumatic Stress Disorders , Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts.
3
3 Department of Neurosurgery, Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, Massachusetts.
4
4 LiteCure LLC , Newark, Delaware.
5
5 Wellman Center for Photomedicine, Massachusetts General Hospital , Boston, Massachusetts.
6
6 Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School , Boston, Massachusetts.
7
7 Harvard-MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology , Cambridge, Massachusetts.
8
8 Adult Psychopharmacology Program, Department of Psychiatry, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai , New York, New York.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

Our objective was to test the antidepressant effect of transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) with near-infrared (NIR) light in subjects suffering from major depressive disorder (MDD).

BACKGROUND:

t-PBM with NIR light is a new treatment for MDD. NIR light is absorbed by mitochondria; it boosts cerebral metabolism, promotes neuroplasticity, and modulates endogenous opioids, while decreasing inflammation and oxidative stress.

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

We conducted a double-blind, sham-controlled study on the safety and efficacy (change in Hamilton Depression Rating Scale [HAM-D17] total score at end-point) of adjunct t-PBM NIR [823 nm; continuous wave (CW); 28.7 × 2 cm2; 36.2 mW/cm2; up to 65.2 J/cm2; 20-30 min/session], delivered to dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, bilaterally and simultaneously, twice a week, for 8 weeks, in subjects with MDD. Baseline observation carried forward (BOCF), last observation carried forward (LOCF), and completers analyses were performed.

RESULTS:

The effect size for the antidepressant effect of t-PBM, based on change in HAM-D17 total score at end-point, was 0.90, 0.75, and 1.5 (Cohen's d), respectively for BOCF (n = 21), LOCF (n = 19), and completers (n = 13). Further, t-PBM was fairly well tolerated, with no serious adverse events.

CONCLUSIONS:

t-PBM with NIR light demonstrated antidepressant properties with a medium to large effect size in patients with MDD. Replication is warranted, especially in consideration of the small sample size.

KEYWORDS:

depression; low-level laser therapy; randomized controlled trial

PMID:
30346890
DOI:
10.1089/pho.2018.4490

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