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Regenerative Medicine

A Quick Laser Review

Lasers and light energy are taking on increased importance in the world of stem cell and PRP injections.  There is now very good scientific evidence of the effect of light energy on various aspects of the stem cell field.  I believe light energy will become a new paradigm  in the use of stem cells for the regenerative medicine field.  There are a number of physiological interactions that are contributed to low level laser therapy.  It is important to remember that in the energy transfers that occur between LLLT (low level laser therapy) emitted photons and the receptive chromophores found in the various cells and sub cellular organelles, compromised cells and tissues respond more readily than healthy cells or tissues.  Cells and tissues that are ischemic and poorly perfused as a result of inflammation, edema and injury have been shown to have a significantly higher response to LLLT irradiation than normal healthy structures.


What we are actually finding is that there is an energy transfer to those cells and structures that are the most metabolically challenged. The cells that are effected by the light energy have a lower threshold.  We can say the healthier the cell the less effect light therapy has on the cell.  The light will interact with a variety of enzymes.  These enzymes are called cytochromes.  The cytochromes act as energy producers for human biological functions at the cellular level.  There are two main cytochrome enzymes, Cytochrome c Oxydase and Nitric Oxide Synthase (NOS).  These enzymes have been found to be particularly reactive to laser photon stimulation.  The particular affinity of these and other photo-reactive enzymes to accelerate their functions in the presence of LLLT provides critical increases in ATP and NO (Nitric Oxide) which enhances cellular metabolism,circulatory improvement and nerve function.  The ATP is the energy that the cells utilize.


This energy comes when we utilize oxygen.  When the laser is used intravenously the mitochondria increase in size.  They also crank up the production of ATP.  ATP will contributing to cellular repair, reproduction and functional ability. The increased ATP can make the  difference between a stem cell surviving in a hostile environment or allow the cell to die which is what we call apoptosis.  Remember under normal conditions we are lucky if 3% of the stem cells survive even for a short period of time.  Thus if we can make an additional 3% of the cells survive this is a significant achievement. Nitric Oxide(NO) has a variety of functions including cell signaling, stem cell activation, increased stem cell survivability, and the list goes on and on.  To read more about NO read some of my previous blogs.  These two actions that I have spoken about are presented in a very  basic manner.  The process is much more complicated than I have mentioned.  The laser will also help balance the free radicals that the body produces.


When laser therapy is being discussed we need to address what colors are utilized.  Unfortunately, many of the lasers that are utilized are using only one color.  This is laser therapy of yesterday.  We now know that certain colors will accomplish certain tasks.  Another important aspect of laser therapy is how it is utilized.  One way that our clinic is utilizing lasers is by the use of lasers in an acupuncture setting.

We use this for various musculoskeletal conditions.  We will also use lasers in an intra-articular fashion. We  determine what laser colors to use depending upon the condition be treated.  Typically with an acute inflammation we will use a blue laser while for a more chronic condition we will utilize a red or infra red laser.  The red laser will help to achieve healing.  The other method that you are starting to utilize is a laser setup that is used intravenously.

As  you now understand, we will utilize a variety of colors in an intravenous fashion.  There is no doubt in my mind that lasers will become increasingly important in the stem cell field.  One concept that I wish to impress upon everyone is the fact that the lasers I am speaking of have little in common with those that we find in a physical therapy or chiropractic  office.  Those lasers have some benefit for local injuries but due to their lack of penetration their effectiveness in the stem cell arena is questionable at best.  There will be more to come.


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