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. Lowe
    • Biotherapeutics Research Group, School of Health SciencesUniversity of Ulster
  • G. David Baxter
    • Biotherapeutics Research Group, School of Health SciencesUniversity of Ulster
  • Deirdre M. Walsh
    • Biotherapeutics Research Group, School of Health SciencesUniversity of Ulster
  • James M. Allen
    • Biotherapeutics Research Group, School of Biomedical SciencesUniversity of Ulster
Original Articles

DOI: 10.1007/BF02133617

Cite this article as:
Lowe, A.S., Baxter, G.D., Walsh, D.M. et al. Laser Med Sci (1995) 10: 253. doi:10.1007/BF02133617


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 conductionLaser therapySkin temperatureBiostimulation

Copyright information

© W.B. Saunders Company Ltd 1995