Can photobiomodulation enhance brain function in older adults?

Agnes S. Chan, Michael K. Yeung, Tsz L. Lee

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingChapter in an edited book (as author)Academic researchpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Converging evidence suggests that human aging is associated with structural, functional, and cognitive deteriorations that preferentially affect the frontal lobe of the brain. Because a decline in frontal cognitive functions may be associated with subsequent declines in global cognitive function and functional activities, interventions that effectively enhance frontal lobe functions of older adults are clinically important. In this chapter, we propose that photobiomodulation (PBM) can be an effective treatment option to protect the aging neurons and enhance frontal lobe functions in normal older adults. Specifically, aging is associated with frontal hypometabolism; through its effects on mitochondrial functioning, PBM may increase energy production and oxygen supply to support metabolism of the aging neurons. In addition, aging is associated with neural atrophy and loss of synapses; through its effects on transcription factors, PBM may promote neuronal survival and encourage the formation of new cells and synapses in the aging frontal cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPhotobiomodulation in the Brain
Subtitle of host publicationLow-Level Laser (Light) Therapy in Neurology and Neuroscience
Number of pages20
ISBN (Electronic)9780128153055
ISBN (Print)9780128153062
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Executive function
  • Frontal lobe
  • Metabolism
  • Mitochondria
  • Neuroprotection
  • Older adults
  • Photobiomodulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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