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Center for Compassionate Care Innovation

CCI to showcase LED treatment for Veterans at VA Innovation Experience

The Center for Compassionate Care Innovation (CCI) is a program within Veterans Health Administration’s (VHA’s) Office of Community Engagement (OCE). CCI’s mission is to explore emerging therapies that are safe and ethical to enhance Veteran physical and mental well-being when other treatments have not been successful. CCI focuses on treatments for Veterans experiencing suicidality, posttraumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury (TBI), and chronic pain.

CCI’s exploration of a unique treatment for TBI specifically — light-emitting diode (LED) therapy — will be featured at the VHA Innovation Experience (iEx) event on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Demonstrations and presentations at iEx will showcase innovative health care solutions to an audience of VA leaders, employees, and members of the public. Christine Eickhoff, health system specialist for OCE, and Dr. Yelena Bogdanova, lead of the VA Boston Healthcare System’s TBI clinic, will give a five-minute presentation that day on LED therapy as part of iEx Demo Session 3, which runs from 3:10 p.m. to 4:20 p.m.

In 2018, CCI began collaborating with the Boston TBI clinic on a home-based LED treatment program. Evidence suggests that LED therapy promotes healing at the cellular level, due in part to increased blood flow. Research on LED therapy suggests that the treatment may help with symptoms associated with TBI, such as mood, memory, or attention1,2,3.

The treatment has been used successfully by more than 100 Veterans. During the treatment, patients who have mild to moderate TBI, and who have reported symptoms consistent with TBI for six months or more, wear a lightweight headset affixed with LEDs. After learning how to operate the device and completing their first treatment at the Boston VA, Veterans can use this treatment in their homes and travel with it. CCI and the Boston team have collected feedback from Veterans about their positive experiences with the treatment, and research on LED treatment is ongoing. At iEx, Ms. Eickhoff and Dr. Bogdanova will present Veterans’ feedback and demonstrate how the device is used.

“We are excited to share details about this innovative treatment option with everyone attending iEx. Veterans are reporting remarkable treatment outcomes from this convenient, in-home therapy,” said Ms. Eickhoff.

This year, iEx is hosted by the VHA Innovation Ecosystem, which is part of the VHA Office of the Deputy Under Secretary for Health for Discovery, Education, and Affiliate Networks (DEAN). DEAN works to advance Veteran care through education, research, and innovation.

The National Press Club is located at 529 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20045. To register to attend iEx, please visit:

To learn more about CCI’s work, please visit:

1Quirk, B.J., Torbey, M., Buchmann, E., Verma, S., Whelan, H.T. (2012). Near-infrared photobiomudulation in an animal model of traumatic brain injury: improvements at the behavioral and biochemical levels. Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin. doi: 10.1089/pho.2012.3261.

2Hipskind, S.G., Grover, F.L. Jr., Fort, T.R., Helffenstein D., Burke, T.J., Quint, S.A., Bussiere, G., Stone, M., Hurtado, T. (2019). Pulsed Transcranial Red/Near-Infrared Light Therapy Using Light-Emitting Diodes Improves Cerebral Blood Flow and Cognitive Function in Veterans with Chronic Traumatic Brain Injury: A Case Series. Photobiomodul Photomed Laser Surg. doi: 10.1089/photob.2018.4489.

3Chao, LL. Improvements in Gulf War Illness Symptoms After Near-Infrared Transcranial and Intranasal Photobiomodulation: Two Case Reports. (2019). Mil Med. doi: 10.1093/milmed/usz037.

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Posted October 22, 2019