Time for a change

Laser phototherapy (LPT) is an exciting an extremely promising treatment modality. Yet it has been struggling uphill for 40 years, constantly criticized, met with disbelief and prejudice. And the laser community has been in a defensive position all the time. Isn’t it time for a change?
What do we actually know about LPT? I ask myself - and give myself the answers, just to make sure the answers are the correct ones…
  1. Is biomodulation with laser light fact or fiction? Answer: Hard fact when it comes to in vitro effects. Good fact in the animal experimental set-up.

  2. Is there enough scientific proof about the clinical effects? Answer: Not as much as we would like, but just as much or more than several traditional medical therapies.

  3. Which is the major problem in research? Answer: The plethora of parameters, such as energy, dose, pulsing, number of sessions, wavelengths.

  4. Is there enough information on PubMed? Answer: What is enough? But more than 200 papers annually for the past six years is not bad.

  5. Why then still all these skeptics? Answer: They are either ignorant or just not updated. Or, in the best of cases, very prudent. That is OK with me.

  6. What has caused all these negative attitudes? Answer: Poor and meager studies in the 80s and 90s, especially from researchers not really understanding what they were doing. Typical for new methods.

  7. Any other reasons? Answer: Yes, since LPT works in so many medical indications, most areas have rather few studies, whereas in the pharmaceutical industry each “pill” receives its own and focused research. So the beauty of the therapy is in itself one of the obstacles at the moment.

  8. Why is disbelief still prevailing here and there? Answer: Partly because of lack of qualified peer reviewers in scientific journals and because of too many poor laser manufacturers.

  9. What do you (I) mean by poor? Answer:  Poor of resources to sponsor research. Also in too many instances poor in responsibility.

  10. Is LPT part of mainstream medicine? Answer: Not yet. It is in a borderline area between animal and clinical science for most indications.

  11. Why are there then not studies enough proving the efficacy and cost effectiveness of LPT? Answer: Again, lack of resources, catch 22!

  12. Would then larger clinical studies prove it? Answer: Yes, in a dozen of indications, provided persons understanding LPT are leading the studies.

  13. Is the pharmaceutical industry fighting LPT? Answer: Don’t think they are, but if they knew better, they would.

  14. Why are so many doctors negative to LPT? Answer: Because they are heavily influenced by the rich pharmaceutical industry.

  15. What will change the situation? Answer: A number of retirements. And a constant strife for quality in LPT research. Only facts will do.

  16. What can I do about it? Answer: Stop being defensive. You don’t have to be offensive (meaning rude), just stick to your conviction and stand up for it. You probably know more than the skeptics.

  17. Will you (I) regret publishing this? Answer: Probably. As Winston said: “Speak in anger and you will present the best speech you will ever regret”.

Change will come!
Jan Tunér

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