According to the Centers for Disease Control, in 2014, about 2.87 million Traumatic brain injury related emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and deaths occurred in the United States, including over 837,000 of these health events among children.
Most TBIs that occur each year are mild, commonly called concussions.
Could powerful beams of a laser help cure a concussion?
For Dallas SWAT officer Danny Canete, the hum of a laser machine is a welcomed sound and big difference from the noises he routinely hears on the training site, where last year, a blast so loud knocked him to his feet from 80 yards away.
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"As soon as that happened, I remember an intense feeling inside my skull and actually feeling like a change in pressure and immediately after that, it felt like my brain had been wiped clean," said Canete.
He was diagnosed with a concussion and returned to work four months later. However, Canete said he still didn't feel like himself. So, he went to Advanced Regeneration in Dallas after learning about the potential benefits of laser therapy.
The light from the high-powered laser is said to penetrate into the brain and help heal damaged cells in the tissue.
Low light therapy has been around for 50 years and a study from 2015 says it helped a handful veterans recover from traumatic brain injuries.
Katrina Rodionova of Advanced Regeneration slowly applies the laser around different parts of his head.
"It's not painful. It's not associated with any pain or discomfort and described by patients as therapeutic," said Rodionova.
However, leading concussion researchers have their doubts.
Neuropsychologist Dr. Mark Barisa says not enough research is out to fully understand how laser light therapy can help treat a TBI.
He says most concussion patients get better on their own over time.
"When we have a condition like that, which gradually gets better over time, it’s very easy to look for products that try to speed that or take the credit for that natural course of recovery," said Dr. Barisa.
Since there are no documented side effects, Canete said he had nothing to lose and after five sessions, he's back to feeling himself again.