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Laser Treatment for Multiple Sclerosis
June 17, 2010   
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A team of doctors and scientists from the Laser Diagnostics and Therapy Center of the Technical University of £ód¼ and the city’s Nicolaus Copernicus Hospital have developed a unique method for treating multiple sclerosis using biostimulatory radiation from a helium-neon laser.

The radiation causes a physical and chemical reaction in cells, which results in changes to their properties and behavior. These changes can be beneficial and include an increase in blood flow and bone marrow activation; less sensitivity to pain; faster healing of wounds, burns and broken bones; and regeneration of muscles and even nerve sheaths.

The low-energy “cold” helium-neon (He-Ne) laser, which raises cell temperature by no more than 0.1-0.5 degrees Celsius, works by stimulating the cells during therapy. It is often used in health centers to treat degenerative disorders and inflamed and tumid parts of the body.

In 1999, after six years of laboratory tests and experiments with an 80 percent success rate—which confirmed the benefits of using biostimulatory laser radiation for speeding up the regeneration of nerve fibers—the Laser Diagnostics and Therapy Center team set about testing laser therapy on patients with advanced multiple sclerosis.

How it works
This unique therapy involves the use of the low-energy He-Ne laser on the skin around the neck and spine, and beneficial effects are to be seen not only in the areas under radiation. Microcirculation is improved and inflammation of damaged tissue and organs is reduced, while regeneration is boosted. Patients after laser therapy generally feel fitter, stronger and decidedly better, the doctors say. These subjective patient reactions have been proven by laboratory tests, which confirm the regeneration of nerve fibers by stimulating the growth of the myelin sheath surrounding them and increasing the concentration of endorphins, which aid the body’s immune system.

Tests have shown that even in the most advanced stages of the disease there is an improvement over several months. The conclusion is simple, the doctors say, it is worth pressing ahead with the laser therapy.

“Our results from the use of laser therapy on multiple sclerosis cases shows that laser biostimulation is a successful and effective method by which to treat patients,” says Dr. Cezary Peszyński-Drews, director of the Laser Diagnostics and Therapy Center of the Technical University of £ód¼. “While it does not prevent multiple sclerosis, it makes patients significantly stronger, even in the most advanced stages of the disease. After treatment patients are able to move around on their own, walk short distances, and make their own breakfast. They are not totally dependent on someone else to help them and this in itself is a personal success.”

Of special significance to patients is the alleviation of spinal pain and improved sphincter function. If patients need to get up five or six times a night to use the bathroom, and if after therapy only once, then for them it is a huge improvement, Peszyński-Drews says. The laser therapy is not only successful but also cheaper than current treatments such as interferon therapy. Radiation over a year costs zl.3,840, while the interferon method $10,000, according to Peszyński-Drews.

Custom-made lasers
According to the £ód¼ researchers, the laser therapy could benefit all multiple sclerosis patients if they were provided with lasers meeting their individual needs. Such custom-made lasers would ensure continuity in treatment for all patients, the researchers say.

“In Poland alone, there is a need for some 40,000 lasers of this kind,” says Peszyński-Drews. “Their production would also ensure our monopoly in the European market. Considering the economic savings involved and, above all, the successful clinical trials, further research on the use of lasers to treat multiple sclerosis is not only justified but essential.”

There are no known negative side effects from the use of laser biostimulation. Heating the skin with a biostimulation laser is painless and does not harm the skin, Peszyński-Drews says.

Danuta K. Gruszczyńska


FACTFILE
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic disease of the central nervous system that can lead to physical and mental disability. It is the second most common neurological disorder to affect people up to the age of 49. Symptoms include disruption of motor skills, muscular weakness, astigmatism, trembling, dizziness, sexual dysfunction, fatigue, tingling sensations, and chronic pain. The cause of the disease is unknown. It is regarded as an autoimmune disease, whereby the body’s own immune system, for an unknown reason, attacks the central nervous system and breaks down the myelin sheath, the fatty protein covering or coating the nerve fibers. There is no effective way to cure multiple sclerosis. Treatment is difficult and often does not produce satisfactory results. Immunosuppressant and immunostimulant drugs have not yielded desired results. Symptomatic treatment is based on muscle relaxation, for example. To date the most effective treatment to halt the progress of multiple sclerosis is interferon therapy.
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