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Int J Stroke. 2013 Jul;8(5):315-20. doi: 10.1111/j.1747-4949.2011.00754.x. Epub 2012 Feb 2.

Transcranial laser therapy for acute ischemic stroke: a pooled analysis of NEST-1 and NEST-2.

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Department of Neurology, University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA.



NeuroThera Effectiveness and Safety Trials (NEST) 1 and 2 have demonstrated safety of transcranial laser therapy (TLT) for human treatment in acute ischemic stroke. NEST 1 study suggested efficacy of TLT but the following NEST 2, despite strong signals, missed reaching significance on its primary efficacy endpoint. In order to assess efficacy in a larger cohort, a pooled analysis was therefore performed.


The two studies were first compared for heterogeneity, and then a pooled analysis was performed to assess overall safety and efficacy, and examined particular subgroups. The primary endpoint for the pooled analysis was dichotomized modified Rankin scale (mRS) 0-2 at 90 days.


Efficacy analysis for the intention-to-treat population was based on a total of 778 patients. Baseline characteristics and prognostic factors were balanced between the two groups. The TLT group (n = 410) success rate measured by the dichotomized 90-day mRS was significantly higher compared with the sham group (n = 368) (P = 0·003, OR: 1·67, 95% CI: 1·19-2·35). The distribution of scores on the 90-day mRS was significantly different in TLT compared with sham (P = 0·0005 Cochran-Mantel-Haenszel). Subgroup analysis identified moderate strokes as a predictor of better treatment response.


This pooled analysis support the likelihood that transcranial laser therapy is effective for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke when initiated within 24 h of stroke onset. If ultimately confirmed, transcranial laser therapy will change management and improve outcomes of far more patients with acute ischemic stroke.

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