Transcranial photobiomodulation (laser) therapy for cognitive impairment: A review of molecular mechanisms and potential application to canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD)

  • Curtis Wells Dewey
  • Matthew Warren Brunke
  • Kasie Sakovitch
Keywords: Canine, Cognitive, Dysfunction, Alzheimer’s, Photobiomodulation.


Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is a common degenerative brain disorder of aging people which shares many clinical and pathological features with canine cognitive dysfunction (CCD). CCD is considered a naturally occurring model of human AD. Transcranial photobiomodulation therapy (tPBMT), also known as transcranial laser therapy, entails delivering photons of near infrared to infrared light from the skin surface of the scalp to the underlying brain. Specific molecular cellular receptors, called chromophores, absorb this energy, and use it to initiate biological reactions with potential therapeutic benefit. Improvement in cognitive ability using tPBMT has been documented in rodent AD models and human clinical trials. The purposes of this review are to provide an overview of the suspected molecular mechanisms of action of tPBMT for the treatment of cognitive decline and to propose potential application of this treatment modality for dogs affected by CCD.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2218-6050
print ISSN: 2226-4485