Effects of Low-Level Laser Therapy in Autism Spectrum Disorder

  • Gerry LeismanEmail author
  • Calixto Machado
  • Yanin Machado
  • Mauricio Chinchilla-Acosta
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 1116)


The study examined the efficacy of low-level laser therapy, a form of photobiomodulation, for the treatment of irritability associated with autistic spectrum disorder in children and adolescents aged 5–17 years. Twenty-one of the 40 participants received eight 5-min procedures administered to the base of the skull and temporal areas across a 4-week period (test, i.e., active treatment participants). All the participants were evaluated with the Aberrant Behavior Checklist (ABC), with the global scale and five subscales (irritability/agitation, lethargy/social withdrawal, stereotypic behavior, hyperactivity/noncompliance, and inappropriate speech), and the Clinical Global Impressions (CGI) Scale including a severity-of-illness scale (CGI-S) and a global improvement/change scale (CGI-C). The evaluation took place at baseline, week 2 (interim), week 4 (endpoint), and week 8 (post-procedure) of the study. The adjusted mean difference in the baseline to study endpoint change in the ABC irritability subscale score between test and placebo participants was −15.17 in favor of the test procedure group. ANCOVA analysis found this difference to be statistically significant (F = 99.34, p < 0.0001) compared to the baseline ABC irritability subscale score. The study found that low-level laser therapy could be an effective tool for reducing irritability and other symptoms and behaviors associated with the autistic spectrum disorder in children and adolescents, with positive changes maintained and augmented over time.


Autism spectrum disorder Brain Clinical trial Low-level laser therapy Neuronal networks Photobiomodulation 



The project was funded by Erchonia Corp., Melbourne, FL, the producers of the equipment employed in this study. The authors would like to thank Ms. Elvira Walls for her assistance with the statistical analysis and research methodology.

Conflicts of Interest

None of the authors have any fiduciary interests in the research reported herein or with the source of funding.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gerry Leisman
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Calixto Machado
    • 4
  • Yanin Machado
    • 4
  • Mauricio Chinchilla-Acosta
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Social Welfare and Health SciencesUniversity of HaifaHaifaIsrael
  2. 2.National Institute for Brain and Rehabilitation SciencesNazarethIsrael
  3. 3.Faculty ‘Manuel Fajrdo’University of Medical SciencesHavanaCuba
  4. 4.Institute for Neurology and NeurosurgeryHavanaCuba

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