Transcranial photobiomodulation with 1064-nm laser modulates brain electroencephalogram rhythms


Noninvasive transcranial photobiomodulation (tPBM) with a 1064-nm laser has been reported to improve human performance on cognitive tasks as well as locally upregulate cerebral oxygen metabolism and hemodynamics. However, it is unknown whether 1064-nm tPBM also modulates electrophysiology, and specifically neural oscillations, in the human brain. The hypothesis guiding our study is that applying 1064-nm tPBM of the right prefrontal cortex enhances neurophysiological rhythms at specific frequency bands in the human brain under resting conditions. To test this hypothesis, we recorded the 64-channel scalp electroencephalogram (EEG) before, during, and after the application of 11 min of 4-cm-diameter tPBM (CW 1064-nm laser with 162  mW  /  cm2 and 107  J  /  cm2) to the right forehead of human subjects (n  =  20) using a within-subject, sham-controlled design. Time-resolved scalp topographies of EEG power at five frequency bands were computed to examine the tPBM-induced EEG power changes across the scalp. The results show time-dependent, significant increases of EEG spectral powers at the alpha (8 to 13 Hz) and beta (13 to 30 Hz) bands at broad scalp regions, exhibiting a front-to-back pattern. The findings provide the first sham-controlled topographic mapping that tPBM increases the strength of electrophysiological oscillations (alpha and beta bands) while also shedding light on the mechanisms of tPBM in the human brain.