Harvard green light could be next breakthrough tool to fight migraine
Last updated 10/8/2021 at 2:10pm
Pinkston News Service
WASHINGTON – For the millions of people who suffer from migraine or other types of serious headaches, a new drug-free, non-invasive tool is in store that can help alleviate pain. Thanks to researchers at Harvard, narrow band green light technology offers a ray of hope.
Approximately 40 million Americans experience migraine, which can inflict debilitating pain. Employers lose more than $13 billion every year due to missed work days caused by migraine headaches. Pandemic-induced stress and anxiety seem to have exacerbated the problem.
Of the variety of treatment options available for migraine patients, most are ineffective, expensive, invasive or all of the above. However, thanks to Harvard neuroscientist Dr. Rami Burstein, a world leader in the science of migraine and headache pain, his research found that a narrow band of green light can actually reduce headache symptoms in migraine patients.
This unique light produces smaller electrical signals in the brain than ordinary light, generating a calmer response and more positive emotions. Research from the University of Arizona Health Sciences has further validated Burstein's work.
A 2020 University of Arizona study found that daily exposure to narrow band green light reduced the frequency, intensity and severity of headaches in migraine patients by more than 60%, and also improved the ability of patients to work, exercise and complete household tasks. Participants in the study spent one to two hours a day for 10 weeks in a room lit only by a white light, then spent 10 weeks doing the same using a narrow wavelength green light. During the weeks of green light exposure, patients reported significantly reduced pain levels and headache duration, and great improvements in their ability to sleep, work and exercise.
Fortunately for headache patients, devices using this green light technology are already available on the commercial market, including a relatively inexpensive green light lamp developed and sold by a company called Allay (https://allaylamp.com/).
Migraine patients are always eager to try anything that can help them deal with this inherited neurological disorder, which the World Health Organization has named as one of the 10 most disabling illnesses.
For those patients, green light technology could be a game changer in the battle against this condition.