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Gender Differences of Dementia in Response to Intensive Self-Administered Transcranial and Intraocular Near-Infrared Stimulation

Qi, Xiaoming and Nizamutdinov, Damir and Berman, Marvin H. and Dougal, Gordon and Chazot, Paul L. and Wu, Erxi and Stevens, Alan and Yi, Stephen and Huang, Jason H (2021) 'Gender Differences of Dementia in Response to Intensive Self-Administered Transcranial and Intraocular Near-Infrared Stimulation.', Cureus, 13 (7). e16188.


Background Transcranial near-infrared (tNIR) stimulation was proven to be a safe, reliable, and effective treatment for cognitive and behavioral symptoms of dementia. Dementia patients of different genders differ in terms of gross anatomy, biochemistry, genetic profile, clinical presentations, and socio-psychological status. Studies of the tNIR effect on dementia have thus far been gender-neutral, with dementia subjects being grouped based on diagnoses or dementia severity. This trial hereby investigated how dementia subjects of different sex respond to tNIR treatment. Methods A total of 60 patient-caregiver dyads were enrolled and randomized to this double-blind, sham-controlled clinical trial. The tNIR light has a wavelength of 1,060 nm to 1,080 nm and was delivered via a photobiomodulation (PBM) unit. The active PBM unit emits near-infrared (NIR) light while the sham unit does not. The treatment consists of a six-minute tNIR light stimulation session twice daily for eight weeks. Neuropsychological assessments conducted at baseline (week 0) and endline (week 8) were compared within the female and male group and between different sex, respectively. Results Over the course of treatment, active-arm female subjects had a 20.2% improvement in Mini‐Mental State Exam (MMSE) (mean 4.8 points increase, p < 0.001) and active-arm male cohort had 19.3% improvement (p < 0.001). Control-arm female subjects had a 6.5% improvement in MMSE (mean 1.5 points increase, p < 0.03) and control-arm male subjects had 5.9% improvement (p = 0.35) with no significant differences in the mean MMSE between female and male subjects in both arms respectively. Other comparison of assessments including Clock Copying and Drawing Test, Logical Memory Test - immediate and delayed recall yielded nominal but not statistically significant differences. No significant differences were observed in the mean MMSE between female and male subjects in both arms respectively before treatment implementation (active arm, p = 0.12; control arm, p = 0.50) at week 0, or after treatment completion (active arm, p = 0.11; control arm, p = 0.74) at week 8. Conclusion Despite differences between female and male dementia subjects, the response to tNIR light stimulation does not demonstrate gender-based differences. Further studies are warranted to refine the tNIR treatment protocol for subjects suffering from dementia or dementia-related symptoms.

Item Type:Article
Keywords: transcranial near-infrared, photobiomodulation, sex, dementia, alzheimer's disease, alzheimer related disease
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution 4.0.
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Publisher statement:© Copyright 2021 Qi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License CC-BY 4.0., which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date accepted:18 May 2021
Date deposited:14 October 2021
Date of first online publication:05 July 2021
Date first made open access:14 October 2021

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