Original Articles

Lasers in Medical Science

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 253-259

The relevance of pulse repetition rate and radiant exposure to the neurophysiological effects of low-intensity laser (820 nm/pulsed wave) irradiation upon skin temperature and antidromic conduction latencies in the human median nerve

  • Andrea S. LoweAffiliated withBiotherapeutics Research Group, School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster
  • , G. David BaxterAffiliated withBiotherapeutics Research Group, School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster
  • , Deirdre M. WalshAffiliated withBiotherapeutics Research Group, School of Health Sciences, University of Ulster
  • , James M. AllenAffiliated withBiotherapeutics Research Group, School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulster

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Abstract

The effects of low-intensity near-infra-red laser irradiation (820 nm; 1.5 and 9.0 J cm−2; pulsed at 12 Hz, 73 Hz and 5 kHz) upon peripheral neurophysiology and skin temperature were investigated using antidromic conduction studies in the human median nerve in vivo. Healthy human volunteers (n = 90) were recruited and allocated randomly to either a control group (n=10) or one of eight experimental groups (two radiant exposures, 1.5 J cm−2 and 9.0 J cm−2 at one of three pulse repetition rates, 12 Hz, 73 Hz or 5 kHz, in addition to a placebo group for each radiant exposure;n = 10 all groups). Analysis of variance (ANOVA) demonstrated a significant (p≤0.05) decrease in skin temperature following irradiation at the lowest radiant exposure (1.5 J cm−2) combined with pulse repetition rates of 73 Hz and 5 kHz, with the greatest effect at 73 Hz. These changes in skin temperature were coupled with increases in negative peak latency (NPL); ie changes in NPL were inversely related to changes in skin temperature. However, in contrast to the authors' previous findings using continuous wave (CW) laser irradiation, differences in NPL were not found to be significant. These findings, therefore, provide little evidence of the neuro-physiological effects of low-intensity infra-red irradiation at the dosage levels and pulse repetition rates used here.

Key words

Nerve conduction Laser therapy Skin temperature Biostimulation