Part 2 – Janis Eells, PhD: Photobiomodulation Research in New Disciplines

You know, what's really interesting is that your background is in pharmacology Right, yes, this was a big change for me actually

What I tell people now when I deliver talks about this is that I trained in pharmacology I always thought of everything as being something that you would administer as a drug But my drug now is light And I think the biggest challenge right now with the light as really with drugs and pharmacology is actually working out a lot of the dosimetry That's gonna be one of the hardest things to figure out

That's the thing that people keep coming back to How often do we have to do this? How long will it last? And it's more experimental than anything else My friend with the injured Achilles tendon has found that if she treats herself for two weeks, she can take two weeks off, and treat herself for two weeks again But at the end of the two weeks off, she needs it again It's almost like that repeated dose thing that's going on

What's the most amazing thing that you've seen or that you've worked on? Because you started out in photobiomodulation very early on when it was whispered about mostly What's the one part that you could work with, like what area do you find exciting in photobiomodulation that maybe you'd be interested in? Well actually I'm very interested now in pressure ulcer healing But also I fell in love with vision years and years ago And the idea that you could find something that would, I mean, the biggest fear for an awful lot of people is the sense you don't want to lose You can tolerate not being able to feel things, not being able to taste things, even not hearing something, but you want to be able to see

And so treating, slowing down, or curing, or just ameliorating visual disease And I guess the other thing about light therapy in terms of visual disease is it's kind of a no-brainer You know that if you shine it in the eyes it will get to the retina You don't have to worry about is it going to penetrate deep enough, will it get through the head So I think really the vision area and the wound healing area are particularly exciting

Traumatic brain injury is an exciting area since there's so much of it That's one thing that's really nice and it's a very interesting perspective coming from somebody in pharmacology And I think that you're very right about the dose Are you looking at ways, do you think that we'll have better ways of measuring the dose in the future? Do you hear a lot about photobiometrics now? Yeah I would like to I've been collaborating more and more with our excellent engineering and physics department

And more and more I've been working with those people because, I mean, you can't master it all I taught myself from basic whole-body pharmacology how the retina and the eye worked And I taught myself a lot about how mitochondria work Still the physics of the light and the physics of measuring the light is something I'd like to share with an expert who can say oh, this is exactly how we should do it and this is the best way to do it And so it opens up new collaborations, and I think that's the thing that's interesting about it

We were talking earlier, it's about the collaborations and making new connections and seeing some of the other potential outcomes that you might see We were sharing a little bit, you were talking a little bit about doing some Parkinson's work It's interesting because the more we talk about it the more it branches out You've presented at some major conferences I know you're always an invited speaker to a lot of the light conferences but you've really been able to go and talk a lot more about light therapy to a large mass

Who have you really talked to recently? I've taken this to the Association for Research and Vision and Ophthalmology, the ARVO meetings, and we were talking about the fact that the first time I presented it there, I was the equivalent of being laughed off the stage People were not receptive They are lot more receptive now The last vision research meeting I went to, there were 10 posters on light treatment of various retinal diseases Of which I'm sure all of them were somewhat based on your work

I knew people had done that, yes Well I think you have to share it and you have to give it away, and tell people My colleagues in Australia have just raced ahead, they have a lot of resources Something I didn't get to talk about, we were talking about diabetes One of the people that I published with is Tim Kern who is an expert, right here at Case Western Reserve University, on diabetes

And we had done a small study in a diabetic animal model and it had been very interesting but I knew that I did not have all the tools and toys to do it So I basically boxed up a device and sent it to Tim's lab with an email saying do the following experiment If it works we'll publish it together If it doesn't, I'll pay for your time And a year later we had a paper that came out of it and so it's been very exciting

And what they found in their diabetic model, which he was amazed with, was not only did it treat the diabetic retinopathy and it's a beautiful piece of work on that, but there's also the diabetic neuropathy and how that manifests in a rat model is they sort of lift their paws up like they're really tender The animals treated with the light didn't do that So now they have a collaboration going with a diabetic neuropathy group that's actually treating the neuropathy with it, so not only that, and they also found that they didn't develop the diabetes as quickly Right, almost able to manage it a little better They can manage everything better so he's very excited about it

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