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Poster B52

A pilot study evaluating the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) in mild cognitive impairment (MCI)

Poster Session B - Sunday, April 14, 2024, 8:00 – 10:00 am EDT, Sheraton Hall ABC

Neda Rashidi-Ranjbar1 (, Nathan W. Churchill1, Tom A. Schweizer1,2, Corinne E. Fischer1,3; 1Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science, St. Michael's Hospital, University of Toronto, 2Division of Neurosurgery, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto, 3Department of Psychiatry, Faculty of Medicine, University of Toronto

Background: Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is a precursor to Alzheimer's dementia, with a monthly progression rate of about 1%. Recent research highlights the link between mitochondrial dysfunction and amyloid beta accumulation, emphasizing the potential of targeting mitochondrial function for treatment. Accordingly, our objective was to investigate the effectiveness of transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM), a non-invasive technique that utilizes near-infrared (NIR) light specifically absorbed by mitochondria, on cognitive functions (memory, executive functioning), and brain metabolites in individuals with MCI. Methods: Ten participants diagnosed with MCI were randomly assigned to active or sham groups, with intentionally indistinguishable tPBM active and sham devices. Over six weeks, participants received daily home-based tPBM treatment (5 active, 5 sham). In conjunction with the treatment, participants underwent cognitive assessments, as well as Proton Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (H-MRS) to analyze changes in brain metabolites before and after treatment. Results: Preliminary findings reveal significant improvements in Montreal Cognitive Assessment (MoCA) scores in the active vs sham group (p < 0.05). Although time to complete the Trail Making Test B (TMT-B) was shorter, and free recalls in California Verbal Learning Test (CVLT) scores were improved in the active vs. sham group, it did not reach statistical significance. In H-MRS, a significant decrease in total levels of creatine, choline, N-acetyl-aspartate, and myo-inositol in the brain was noted in the active vs. sham group (p < 0.05). Conclusions: Our preliminary results on tPBM treatment in MCI are promising. H-MRS findings hint at potential inflammation reduction. However, drawing firm conclusions requires larger sample sizes.



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April 13–16  |  2024