Light emitting diodes (LEDs) bring relief to young cancer patients


A nurse holds a strange-looking device, moving it slowly toward a young patient’s face. The note-card-sized device is covered with glowing red lights, but as it comes closer, the youngster shows no fear. He’s hopeful this painless procedure using an array of lights will help ease or prevent some of the pain and discomfort associated with cancer treatment.

Biologists have found that cells exposed to nearinfrared light — energy just outside the visible range — from LEDs grow 150 to 200 percent faster than those cells not stimulated by such light.

The youngster is participating in the second phase of human clinical trials for by Jack Robertson this light-healing device. The first round of tests by Medical College of Wisconsin researchers at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, was so encouraging that doctors have expanded the trials to several U.S. and foreign hospitals.

“We’ve already seen how using LEDs can improve a bone marrow transplant patient’s quality of life,” said Dr. Harry Whelan, professor of neurology, pediatrics and hyperbaric medicine at the Wisconsin medical college. “These trials will hopefully help us take the next steps to provide this as a standard of care for this ailment.”

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