PBM Treatment Results for CTE

In December of 2013, following over 10 hours of neuro-cognitive testing, and preceded by years of ever decreasing emotional control, my wife Laurie and I listened as the Neuro-psychologist summed up my results, “Probable etiology for these changes is multiple head trauma with multiple concussions. Problems with attention and memory are hallmarks of significant brain injury.” The doctor’s conclusion was probable Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE).

In 2016, while serving a mission with my wife in Boston, I was really struggling.  My symptoms were getting much worse, threatening to end our mission a full year earlier than planned. However, somehow we found ourselves at the Boston VA anxious to take part in a study designed for Gulf War veterans with traumatic brain injuries. The VA was using photobiomodulation (PBM) in their research.  I wasn’t a vet, but the researchers welcomed the chance to try their protocol on an ex-football player with possible CTE.  

My wife and I had been told so many times by multiple experts, that there was no cure for CTE. The World Health Organization, The Mayo Clinic and Boston University all say the same thing, there is no cure for the progressive disease of CTE and once triggered, it continues unchecked to wreck havoc with emotions and cognitive abilities, not to mention creating difficult challenges for wives and families.

The CTE ‘experts’ in Boston were supportive, but provided little hope to us; actually, no hope, no cure, no treatment, no diagnosis. So why not try light at the VA? Why not indeed! With that said, below and in the next several posts I will present important data from my experience that should force us to reconsider the no-cure/treatment paradigm. I will discuss my cognitive and emotional measurements that show PBM not only stopped the progression of the disease, but actually reversed my decline. This information is so much more than me feeling better, or saving my mission, my life and my marriage.  It is a real game changer. Read on.

The research at the Boston VA Hospital: STUDY DESIGN

The design of the study was for me to receive light or photobiomodulation applied directly to my head, 3 days per week for 20 minutes per brain area, or a total of 40 minutes per session. I received 18 total treatments for the initial phase. Prior to any treatments, I was given several neuro-cognitive tests and received an fMRI of my head. These same tests would be performed 1 week after the completion of the initial phase, 1 month following the treatment, 2 months after treatment, and the final testing was given following 3 months of Vielight home treatment. In all, I would be evaluated 5 times over the course of approximately 30 weeks.

Study Results: I will present the summary of findings in 4 categories below. Not all tests are shown. More complete results and explanations will be presented in the subsequent posts. The categories represented below include 1) fMRI (changes to the brain) 2) Emotional changes, 3) Cognitive results 4) Physical results.  Categories 1-3 were measured in the Boston VA lab by researchers.

  1. fMRI scan. This test is a measure of brain function and how well the regions of the brain are synchronized, or communicating and working together. The actual reported measurements are the number of correlations (Cr) between the regions of the brain: Left Hemisphere, Right Hemisphere, Both Hemispheres’ 

                  Time Frame          Total Correlations: Left, Right and Both

  • Before Treatment                       3,209 (base level)
  • 1 week after VA 18 treatments          4,103 (increase 28% from base)
  • 1 month after treatment           4,671 (increase 46% from base)
  • 2 months after treatment                   3,947 (decrease 16% from high)
  • Final – 3 months after Vielight         4,361 (increase 36% over base)

2. Emotional Changes

PTSD – Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome – Score over 36 suggests PTSD. Clinically meaningful decrease = 10-20 points. Possible score range = 77-17

  • Before Treatment                                58 (base level – significant PTSD)
  • 1 week after VA 18 treatments                   26 (decrease 32 points from base)
  • 1 month after treatment                    35 (increase 9 points from low)
  • 2 months after treatment                            47 (increase 21 points from low)
  • Final – 3 months after Vielight         24 (decrease 34 points – No PTSD)

Depression – Beck Depression Inventory II – Lower score = less depression

  • Before Treatment  (Base)                            24 points (Moderate Depression)
  • 1 week after VA 18 treatments                   under 5 points (decrease 19 point)
  • 1 month after treatment                    0 (no depression)
  • 2 months after treatment                            10 (increase by 10 from low point)
  • Final – 3 months after Vielight                  0 (No depression)

3. Neuro-Cognitive Changes

DKEFS – Stroop Test – Executive Function            Z score (Standardized score)

  • Before treatment (Base)                     -1  (lower 16th percentile)
  • 1 week after VA 18 treatments                   +0.75 (increase to upper 75-80th %
  • 1 month after treatment                    +0.25 (decrease to approx. 60th %)
  • 2 months after treatment                            – 0.25 (decrease to lower 40th %)
  • Final – 3 months after Vielight                  +1 (increase to upper 84th %)

COWAT –Language and Executive Function.         Z score (Standardized score)

  • Before treatment (Base)                     -2 (lower 2nd percentile)
  • 1 week after VA 18 treatments                   -0.75 (increase to lower 25th %)
  • 1 month after treatment                    -0.75 (maintain improvement)
  • 2 months after treatment                            -1.5 (decreased to lower 10th %)
  • Final – 3 months after Vielight                  +0.5 (upper 60th %)

4. Physical  – Personal observation – not measured for study/anecdotal

Pre VA study       After Vielight  1 year Vielight

Measurement      /Date                            06/17                  03/18         05/19

Strength/ Incline Bench Press         135lbs  205  275 (increase 103%)

Overhead Press                                 100lbs  185  265 (increase 165%)

Shoulder Pain: scale 1-10                 7-8        4-5             0 (no pain)

Knee pain                                           7-8        5                0

Wrist pain                                           8            5-6             2

Basic illness – Immunity indication        2-3 times/year       0 times since began light

As you look at these results it is obvious that dramatic improvements occurred in the areas reported. In every measurement, the changes followed the same pattern verifying my brain’s response to the light treatment. The pattern of change is improvement when treated, regression after a couple of months off the treatment, and then improvement once again with the application of the Vielight home device.

As great as the data above is, even more important were the changes in my quality of life. We were able to finish our mission, dramatically improve our relationship and we look forward to many more productive years. As my wife is quoted in a recent interview, “I have my husband back!”  Better still, I have MY life back. If these results weren’t my own, I probably wouldn’t believe them. But they are and I believe they could be the same for many others as well. I will go into greater detail for each category in my next few posts.

2 thoughts on “PBM Treatment Results for CTE

  1. I too am living with symptoms of CTE and the maddening effects on my relationships and psyche. I’ve reached out to your Doctor in Boston via email without success. Could you help me make contact or let me know which cap you purchased? Thank you.
    Carol McIntyre, Ogden UT 801-564-5661


    1. My dad also played for BYU. We lost him 4 years ago at the age of 61 to CTE/Alzheimers. I wish we knew about this treatment years ago. 😢 there is nothing worse than watching your hero decline and change the way this disease makes them. 😢 I’m so glad you found a way to live with it. May the Lord continue to bless and heal you.


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