Ahead of the Game

Santa Clara University is partnering with Neuronic to explore the healing capabilities of light.

As anyone who’s endured long stints of overcast gray days knows, exposure to light greatly improves our mental and physical health. Through its Healthcare Innovation and Design Program, Santa Clara University is partnering with Neuronic—a photobiomodulation technology device company based in Germany—to further our understanding of the healing potential of light.

Led by professors Julia Scott and Sally Wood, from the Departments of Bioengineering and Electrical and Computer Engineering respectively, the research team (including students) will study ways to improve the efficacy of photobiomodulation (PBM), a noninvasive therapy used to treat brain injuries and neurodegenerative conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, and long-COVID.

Neuronic may then apply their findings into the design of the next iteration of ther PBM device, which applies near-infrared light to the head, activating key cellular proteins to reduce inflammation, increase circulation, and improve energy function in the brain.

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The Neuronic PBM device applies near-infrared light to the head to activate key cellular proteins that may have dramatically beneficial results for the user. Photo provided by Neuronic.

Scott says while there’s currently a strong understanding of how PBM interacts with cells and tissues, we don’t yet know how best to apply this stimulation to the whole person. “Clinicians need a marker from the individual patient that can tell them whether the stimulation is affecting the brain when they are developing the treatment protocol,” she says. “This will be the measure of where to stimulate, how to stimulate, and how long to treat.” 

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