Improving Quality of Life

Six in ten adults have a chronic disease in the United States. Four in ten adults have more than one. These illnesses are the leading drivers of $3.3 trillion in annual healthcare costs. Primary Care Physicians (PCP) are usually saddled with the treatment and care of those with chronic illnesses, and our current system doesn’t allocate much time toward attending to the quality of life needs of those people with chronic illnesses. 

The schedule of most PCPs only allows for a visit of 15-17 minutes. During that time, the physician talk time is only 2-5 minutes on average. PCPs are doing their best, but that’s simply not enough time to properly address quality of life for most patients. As a result, peripheral conditions like anxiety and depression are common developments for people with chronic illnesses, particularly for difficult to treat chronic autoimmune disorders. 

Light-Induced Guided Healing Therapy (LIGHT) has the potential to empower patients to improve their own quality of life, and in some cases relieve some symptoms of their chronic illnesses. Paul J. Mills, Professor and Chief, and Director, Center of Excellence for Research and Training in Integrative Health, Department of Family Medicine and Public Health, along with LIGHT therapy developers Paula Marie Jackson and Thomas George Thudiyanplackal, have had two successful pilot studies at UC San Diego.

Sounds too good to be true? Take a look at the numbers. Over 10 weeks, with sessions once per week, LIGHT helped people with chronic diseases experience a 75% decrease in depression, 24% decrease in fatigue, 38% increase in physical quality of life, and a 30% increase in mental quality of life. Continued research has shown interactions in different regions of the brain that could allow the LIGHT team to reverse-engineer the therapy protocol to devise an algorithm for a machine learning platform. Such a breakthrough would allow for the creation of an AI-powered application that could take LIGHT from lab to market and make a better quality of life accessible to a mass population. 

“We want to make stress, anxiety, and depression manageable for first responders, doctors, patients - everyone,” said Jackson. “We want to make a happier world.” 

Jackson originally developed LIGHT to manage the debilitating symptoms of her own multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis, an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Jackson was told that she would be wheelchair-bound 20 years ago, and she credits her independence and rich quality of life today to LIGHT. 

What’s Happening in the Lab?

The ultimate goal of translational research at the LIGHT lab is to make its benefits accessible to a wider population at a lower cost whenever or wherever it is needed. This can be achieved by reverse-engineering the singular or multimodal biosignal data recorded during the therapy so that education can be developed for practitioners and technology programs can be developed to deliver the therapy where practitioners remain inaccessible due to factors such as time or cost limitations. 

To do this, the lab is collecting biosignal data within an EEG (multimodal) study. Additional biosignals may be collected to expand the scope of available data. The lab has already conducted a test of normal subjects to see how LIGHT affects the brain, and the team was able to take the data, see how many different aspects of the brain were engaged and how this would help to create different algorithmic models. Now the team would like to perform a much larger study with a larger population, including participants that have common underlying symptoms to most chronic and autoimmune conditions such as depression, anxiety, pain, and insomnia that can be addressed by LIGHT. 

Six in ten adults have a chronic disease in the United States, and the limitations of hard-working Primary Care Physicians don’t often allow much attention to be paid to the impact of those illnesses on a patient’s quality of life. Light-Induced Guided Healing Therapy (LIGHT) has already helped patients with chronic and autoimmune diseases improve their quality of life, and by examining the underlying mechanisms through which it works, technology could make that therapy accessible to the world.

Light-Induced Guided Healing Therapy (LIGHT) is a research-backed mind-body protocol that invokes and engages the full attention of the user toward visualizing the fulfillment of the set goal by accessing their expanding awareness in the safe space designed by the user for the non-judgemental and unlimited exploration of possibilities. 

Individuals with chronic or autoimmune conditions may specifically benefit from using LIGHT to help them refocus their attention toward becoming aware of their body’s shifting needs so they may stay ahead of it, get back in control, and proactively enhance their quality of life.

The first pilot study has a peer-reviewed paper published in the Journal for Evidence-Based Integrative Medicine (JEBIM).