A former police officer from Colorado Springs is swearing by an experimental treatment for several concussions, according to CBS Denver. The therapy is a laser treatment that emits near infrared light into the person’s brain. The laser itself is FDA approved, but the treatment is experimental.
The cost is $100 per treatment for first responders and veterans, and $200 per treatment for all others. Doctors are recommending 20 treatments. Jennifer Fortezzo called the brain-stimulating device “miraculous.”
She is just 43 years old, but retired from her job as a police officer after ten years because of a hip injury. Ten years ago in 2006, she lost a baby girl. She began suffering from severe depression and suicidality.
As a result, the doctors ordered a brain scan. It showed damage that she believes was caused by several sports- and work-related concussions. The foundation that gives her the laser therapy treatment is called the Neuro-Laser Foundation, founded by Dr. Theodore Henderson and Dr. Larry Morries.
One study in April 2015 in the journal Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment found that patients with TBI responded very well to near infrared laser treatment. The foundation claims that patients in the study and others since have demonstrated marked improvement in symptoms. The symptoms they exhibit typically include anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep disturbances, cognitive breakdowns, mood dysregulation and irritability.
Fortezzo and her husband both go on the record saying that the difference the therapy has made in their lives is incredible. The way the laser works is that it energizes brain cells, stimulating blood supply and oxygen. Dr. Henderson says that the laser works by stimulating the brain’s own healing power.
The hope is that this technology will not only help with traumatic brain injury, like Fortezzo’s, but also might help with neurodegenerative disorders like Alzheimer’s. The doctors who founded the Neuro-Laser Foundation are hoping to raise $680,000. The money would help fund research that would benefit other first responders and veterans.
The key to all of these experimental interventions for brain injury is they offer hope for a better outcome in the future. Most of these therapies are not going to fundamentally change the outcome for the vast majority of those with TBI. But progress is important and the more things that are tried, the better the long range prospects for treatment are. But just because a study or news story talks about a coming miracle, doesn’t mean that such treatment is appropriate for the care of brain damage now or in the near term.