Episode 306 Dr. Theodore Henderson Activating the Brain’s Healing Process Transcript

This transcript is from episode 306 with guest Dr. Theodore Henderson.

Scott DeLuzio: [00:00:00] Thanks for tuning in to the Drive On Podcast, where we are focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran, active duty guard, reserve, or a family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio, and now let’s get on with the show.

Hey everybody. Welcome back to Drive On. I’m your host Scott DeLuzio, and today my guest is Dr. Theodore Henderson. Dr. Henderson is president and founder of Neuro Luminance, which is bringing revolutionary treatments to, uh, the traumatic brain injury, depression, and other, uh, brain disorders. And he’s here today to help us rethink.

Brain disorders like depression and brain injuries, and introduce us to exciting new treatments, which actually activate the brain’s own healing process. And so we’ll be talking about that a little bit more, uh, in this episode. So welcome to the show, Dr. [00:01:00] Henderson. I’m glad to have you here.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Scott, thanks so much for having me, and it’s really my honor to be able to reach out to veterans and maybe offer them some new ways to think about how to help their, um, the struggles that they

Scott DeLuzio: have.

No, I agree. And that’s why I wanted to have you on the show. There are so many different treatment options that are available through the VA and other standard, uh, places where veterans typically get their, uh, their care and their treatment, and. You’re offering something that maybe is a little bit different from what the standard, typical treatments that a lot of veterans might be familiar with.

Um, and so I wanted to just at least expose people to this possibility for the people who are out there feeling like I’ve tried everything, everything, nothing is working for me. Hey, here’s one more thing. Here’s a, you know, a few more options here that, uh, maybe that’ll give him some hope and, and give him another option to, um, to, to.

Give a shot. So, um, but before we [00:02:00] get into all of that, uh, for the listeners maybe who haven’t heard of you, not familiar with you and your background, could you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Dr. Theodore Henderson: I. Sure. Yeah, I’d be happy to. You know, first off, I wanna say I am not a veteran. Uh, my brother and my father served, um, I was kept out because of a heart condition.

Uh, and that event, um, literally changed the trajectory of my life. I was, uh, set to be a musician and I ended up shifting and pivoting into science and then eventually to medicine. And here we are. Um, so I’m both an MD and a PhD. So I was a PhD bench researcher looking at how the brain developed and how growth factors, uh, which were newly discovered at that point, played a role in, in kind of organizing the brain.

Uh, and growth factors became more and more important in how we think about the brain as time went by. Um, I then, uh, did, started a, a residency in [00:03:00] radiology. So I was sitting around reading MRIs and, and brain scans and, and, uh, you know, chest x-rays got bored. Uh, so I switched to psychiatry. So, And I did my psychiatry residency at Washington University in St.

Louis, uh, which is the top level university. Uh, and then I did, uh, child psychiatry residency at the University of Colorado cuz I wanted to be close to the mountains, which I can see out my window. Um, but the University of Colorado and I were not a great fit. Let’s leave it at that. And so I left academia.

Uh, gave up my research grants, uh, gave up my research lab and went into private practice, uh, but later started a research foundation with my colleague. And that research foundation, the Neuro Laser Foundation, uh, is dedicated to two things, one research and two to subsidize, and then the care. Uh, and treatment of veterans and [00:04:00] first responders.

So, and we can’t subsidize it 100% for everybody, but, you know, we’re out there trying to get, uh, veterans the care that they need that the VA’s not willing or able to provide. So, um, you know, the, the essence of who I am is I, I’m a, I’m a bit of an outta the box thinker. I’m a rule breaker. Um, The, the idea of Thomas Coon’s, uh, paradigm shifts.

Um, this is, this is who and what I am. I read Thomas Coon’s book when I was undergrad and it became my Bible. So I think about how to change things and when I’m up against something like, oh, traumatic brain injury, there’s no treatment for that. Well, I start looking for. How can we be innovative and change that?

So that’s kind of who I am. The result is I have three patents and two patents pending, and a research foundation and a company, the Neuro Luminance Foundation, which, uh, neuro luminance company, which is our [00:05:00] treatment arm, um, and then the research foundation. So it’s all kind of come together, um, combining.

Uh, neuroimaging and immunology and physics and some exciting stuff like lasers that we’re gonna talk about later

Scott DeLuzio: on. Well, and it seems like you have such a, a diverse background and applying all of the different fields that you, you went into and. Almost combining ’em all together. It’s almost like the perfect fit, uh, for where you’re at right now.

Um, we’re gonna get more into what you’re doing now and how this treatment can help out veterans. Uh, but first we’re gonna cut to a short commercial break, so stay tuned. So, Dr. Henderson, uh, in the intro I mentioned that. You’re gonna help us rethink brain disorders and there’s all sorts of different brain disorders.

We talked about depression, TBIs, ptsd, all these different things. And can you talk about how the brain scans of maybe PTSD patients differ from those, [00:06:00] from people with depression, TBIs, and maybe other disorders, uh, that they might have?

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Absolutely. So when we say brain scan, we need to start defining what we mean by a brain scan.

So CT scans and MRIs are a way to look at anatomy, and quite frankly, the MRI of a dead brain is pretty much the same as the MRI of a live brain cuz it’s just. It’s just the wiring, it’s just anatomy. So what I’m talking about are SPECT scans, which is short for single photon emission computed tomography.

So SPECT is a whole lot easier to say. A SPECT scan is a functional brain scan, and it’s a way of looking at how the brain functions now in, in, in the brain. Um, Neurons, uh, the brain cells cannot store energy. They need to have energy delivered moment by moment. So the more active a brain cell [00:07:00] is, the more energy it needs, and therefore it needs more delivery.

I e it needs more blood flow cuz Uber doesn’t go there. So it also needs more oxygen, which is also delivered by the blood. So blood flow to an individual neuron is a one-off of how active the neuron is. If the blood flow is high, the neuron is more active. So with that sort of background, then a spec scan is looking at blood flow as a one-off of how active the brain is, and it shows areas of high activity, areas of low activity, areas of normal activity.

Now in the case of PTs D, it’s really interesting what happens. PTSD and traumatic brain injury are two diagnoses that the VA struggles to get right. Because symptomatically, they are very similar. If you have p ptsd, you have sleep problems, you have tbi, you have sleep problems. Uh, same thing with anxiety, same thing with uh, mood dysregulation.

Same thing with memory problems. [00:08:00] Same thing with irritability. I mean, the only thing that really distinguishes TBI and p, PTSD or flashbacks. So beyond that, just on a symptomatic basis, these two overlap by 30, 40%. Yeah, and so differentiating them is an important task now in the brain scan. We’re able to look at the, the parts of the brain that are deep inside what’s called the thalamus and the basal ganglia, uh, the anterior cingulate gyrus.

So these are all foreign terms I know, but these are sort of essential parts of the brain that are involved in mood and anxiety and uh, uh, regulating kind of how we approach the world. And so in traumatic brain injury, what happens is all of those areas are shut down. They’re all decreased, uh, as well as the cortex, the part of the cortex that took the hit.

That’ll be decreased. And often you can see a one hit on one side and another hit on the other [00:09:00] side because the big hit causes the brain to slosh and it hits the other side of the skull. So you get a coup contracoup injury in our veterans who had, uh, who had been work exposed to roadside uh, explosions, um, they have a more diffuse pattern because the shockwave travels through the brain.

The brain is a consistency of grape jelly. So, as you can imagine, a shockwave hitting grape jelly just goes right through it, and that affects the entire brain. And so in, in patients who’ve been exposed to, to uh, um, explosive devices and I, we had one patient who had been. Wow, it hit eight times. Um, and you know, so we saw his brain scan and it looked pretty bad.

Now, after treatment, it looked a whole lot better. Now differentiate that everything shut down in TBI with what happens in PTs D. So P T S D is an over arousal state. [00:10:00] And so what happens at the thalamus and the basal ganglion and the anterior cingulate and the insula are all overactive. And so it’s night and day.

On a brain scan, it’s like 99% differentiation. We can, yeah, there’s no, there’s no error here versus, you know, when we’re just looking at symptoms.

Scott DeLuzio: So the, it’s interesting that they, there is, you know, you can take a look at the, the brain scan and you can, you can identify these differences between like PTSD and TBIs and, and things like that.

And, and the, the grape jelly example that you, you gave, um, Yeah, like I can, I can picture like, it just kind of rippling through, uh, that, that type of mm-hmm. Uh, consistency of, of a material. Right. And, you know, the way I’ve always thought of these things is, is almost like the, the old. Old fashioned, uh, you know, telephone operators where they have like one wire going to another and another one to [00:11:00] another.

And it’s like when something big and catastrophic happens, all those wires just get kind of mixed up and you gotta like get ’em back to where they belong. Um, but this, this example of the grape jelly is kind of more, uh, realistic example of, um, you know, that mm-hmm. That consistency of what’s actually up there in our, in our brains.

Um, so. The treatments for PTSD and, uh, traumatic brain injuries and, and the things that you offer, uh, for that, those types of, uh, those types of, uh, injuries.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Yeah. Uh, maybe compare and contrast would be a good thing here because what’s, what’s the VA do? Uh, not to pick on the V. Sure. Okay. I’ll pick on the va.

Um, um, you know, SSRIs, serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antidepressants, uh, you know, benzos, which are basically alcohol in a pill. Um, uh, antipsychotics. And here’s the interesting thing, and we, we looked at this and people have [00:12:00] studied this. If you’re a veteran with A T B I, the chance that you’re gonna be put on an antipsychotic is five times higher.

Than if you’re a veteran without a T B I. And, and I’m not saying antipsychotics are bad, they’re great if they’re used appropriately, but there’s actually evidence, animal evidence that antipsychotics actually are bad in traumatic brain injury and animal models. Um, so, you know, using an antidepressant to try and.

A adjust. The serotonin levels in the brain is nonsense. I mean, serotonin doesn’t have anything to do with depression. It doesn’t have anything to do with ptsd. D, it doesn’t have anything to do with anxiety. That was a lie, and that’s been proven in large clinical studies and proven over and over again in the case of depression.

So the treatments that we’re talking about are getting at a fundamentally different process, and that is neuroplasticity. Or brain [00:13:00] regrowth brain repair because in depression, Circuits are lost. Synapses are lost dendrites. Those little tree things on neurons shrink up and disappear goes from being like a big willow tree to being like a prune rosebush in the winter.

So there’s a huge difference that can happen in depression. In P T S D, same thing. There is this loss of synapses, loss of circuits, the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved in learning memory gets smaller. In PTSD and in depression, in traumatic brain injury. You know, you took the hit. Th there are cells that are dead.

They are not coming back. Nothing I can do will make a dead cell come back. I’m Dr. Henderson, not Dr. Frankenstein. So you know, I can work with what’s there. I can work with the wounded uh, neurons. I can work with the herding neurons. I can work with the neurons that are just limping along. And the [00:14:00] other thing that’s really important about the human brain or any brain is the ability of the adult brain to rewire.

And so that rewiring is essential to recovery from traumatic brain injury and depression and P T D and anxiety and post covid fatigue syndrome. So, Sure. And you know, you get the point. So that rewiring or regrowth regeneration is, that’s where these new treatments really make the difference. And so,


Scott DeLuzio: these, these treatments that, that you offer, um, they are, um, They’re in, are they, in addition to like medi medications that you were talking about?

Or are they in place of, uh, these types of things?

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Well, that’s a, that’s a great question. Um, and the answer is really both. Uh, it depends on the individual. We have lots of people who have come to us with traumatic brain injuries, and [00:15:00] when we’ve treated them with what I’m gonna call lum, Um, and Lummi is stands for laser un attenuated multi watt infrared treatment, or in other words, let’s just call it multi watt laser, or Lummi for short.

Um, the, the laser, gosh, we’re, are we talking about Star Trek here or Star Wars? No. Laser is coherent light and so what we’re using is infrared light, uh, which is able to activate as I’ll talk about later. Um, regeneration in the brain. So we have patients who have traumatic brain injuries who’ve come in, you know, their lives are in chaos.

They’re about to lose their wives, lose their. House, they’ve already lost their job. Um, they can’t sleep, they can’t think, and they get this treatment and all of a sudden all that gets better. Their brain scan gets better. They get their lives back. You know, I can think of one example. The guy who took eight, uh, explosive [00:16:00] hits.

He’s working over at, uh, a brewery nearby here as an electrician, doing great. His wife and he are back together. So happy story.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And that, that’s great that these things have that, uh, that healing power where you can get back to a place, uh, close to where you may have been before. I mean, in mm-hmm. You, you did mention, you know, in some cases there are, um, you know, dead neurons that those are, those cells are not coming back.

Mm-hmm. Um, Right. And so you, you may not get to a hundred percent the way you were before, but you can get closer to that by mm-hmm. Healing what is mm-hmm. Just limping along as you said, um, that, that isn’t right. Um, you know, just, um, you know, giving up on them and, and letting them with their way and, and die off too, right?

Mm-hmm. You’re, you’re right. Healing them back. To a place where they can be effective and they can, they can, um, you know, [00:17:00] help you, uh, help your brain heal. Right. Uh, I think that’s kind of what you’re, you’re trying to get at.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Right? Exactly. Exactly. So, and I can, I can introduce you to Eric really quickly.

Eric, uh, had a traumatic brain injury in, in active duty 32 years before he got treatment. Uh, his MRI showed dead brain. Uh, in parts of his insula right in here, and we treated him, uh, and he was, before that he was, he was just causing all sorts of trouble. He is showing up at the gate of the Air Force base demanding to talk to the commander, you know, creating havoc in his community because he was so dysregulated, he was, and so unhappy.

And so we treated him that part. Didn’t get better. It, it’s, it’s dead. We can’t fix that. But all the rest of his brain got so much better. His language got, his speech got better, his language got better. He is a poet and his poetry got better, his gait got [00:18:00] better. And his decorum, his ability to sort of regulate his, you know, impulses got better.

And so for. Eric, he’s now, he’s now doing great. He is up in Boulder, Colorado, living life doing well, a really dramatic difference from where he was and he had been sitting there for 30 years cuz the VA hadn’t done any rehab with him. After he got out of a coma and learned how to walk and eat again. Wow.


Scott DeLuzio: that’s amazing. We’re gonna take another quick commercial break, but when we get back, I wanna get more into this and a little bit more of how, uh, you can use those, those infrared light, uh, treatment to basically heal, help heal the brain. So stay tuned. So Dr. Henderson, uh, I’m trying to wrap my head around the, uh, the idea of the, the light, uh, infrared light, uh, treatments that you were talking about earlier, uh, and how that can treat the brain.

Can you explain a little bit more how that works? Uh, kind of the, the process behind it and, and how [00:19:00] everyone, uh, how that can help heal the brain, uh, as, as you’re, you’re using that treatment.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Absolutely. So, um, infrared light is, is a broad spectrum of light. It’s everything from visible light up to like microwave.

Um, so there’s a lot of wavelengths within infrared light, but only certain wavelengths are important. And they’re important because they’re able to activate mitochondria. And what are mitochondria? They’re the little organelles within inside cells that create energy. And so if you turn on the mitochondria, first thing you get is more energy.

So for those watching the video, you can probably see this graphic, but I’ll walk everyone through this graphic. Um, infrared light of certain wavelengths have to penetrate, you know, scalp and skull to reach the neurons in the brain and reach the mitochondria. And once they’ve reached the mitochondria, they’re able to turn on the mitochondria and induce a number of things.

Number one, they [00:20:00] turn on. More energy and more, um, oxygen. They also turn on certain genes inside the mitochondria. They have their own genes, like they’re their own little organelle, this own little organism living inside of us. Um, but they also send signals to the chromosomes and they turn on important genes that are involved in neuroplasticity.

Now, some of those genes are growth factors, the most important. Being brain derived neurotrophic factor or B D N F. Now, B D N F and I are old friends. It was the topic of my postdoctoral research, uh, grants that I got from N nih, uh, back when I was still a medical student, uh, and a resident. So, um, you know, I’ve been working with B D N F for a long time.

So when infrared light therapy was first introduced to me, I was as skeptical as you. It’s like light, light, it’s gonna do something [00:21:00] to the brain. What the heck is that all about? But, you know, uh, um, my good colleague, uh, Jenny Fary said, look, read the literature. And the literature was from like places like Harvard.

Um, and what they’re showing is in animal models amazing results. You know, these animals, you whack ’em in the head, you give ’em a traumatic brain injury, and lo and behold, the, you know, this infrared light up-regulates. B D N F up-regulates, uh, synapse formation. New circuits are forming, the brain is repairing itself.

The lesion is like, 50, 60% smaller compared to an animal who wasn’t treated with infrared light. So it’s like, holy Toledo, there’s only one problem. This was all being done in mice and, and rabbits, you know, no studies were being done in humans now. Uh, to, and it was also being done with this very low power infrared light.

And remember I said we gotta get through scalp and skull. And believe me, my skull is thicker than most. So it’s, it’s, you know, like 90 sheets of [00:22:00] paper you gotta get through to get to the brain, even if you start here at the forehead. So, you know, we have to have something that’s powerful enough to get through.

And this is what we did at the Neuro Laser Foundation, is we went into the lab and we figured out how much energy you needed to get through scalp and skull and into the brain three centimeters. And we figured out, okay, how do we do that without like, you know, cooking the brain, you know, this is a bad outcome.

So, uh, we figured all that out. Uh, what the wavelengths were, what the pulse frequency, how much time on how much time off, um, you know, how to keep things moving so it doesn’t build up what blood flow does. And we did this literally, you know, the living human tissue. Uh, that was me. Oh wow. We literally, ourselves.

As subjects, uh, to look at living you in tissue and sorted all that stuff out. You know, for example, the human hand is 25, uh, millimeters thick. I know. Cuz I measured [00:23:00] it and we studied it. And so, you know, this is like, you know, They kind of out of the box thinking, right? You really wanna know how something works, do it right to yourself.

And there’s a number of, you know, a number of us in the field who have done things like this. You know, um, the most famous guy is the guy who figured out that, uh, h Pylori causes ulcers. He figured out by drinking a vial of h pylori and giving himself an ulcer. You know, sometimes you have to do that in medicine and usually you have to do that cuz everyone else is saying, oh, that’s a bunch of nonsense.

Uh, and medicine is very slow to change. So in what we’re doing with multi watt infrared light is we’re able to get through the scalp and skull and directly into the brain and directly reach those mitochondria and directly turn on neuroplasticity. Now there is a lot of people who are using this low watt stuff that they used on mice, you know, half watt LEDs.

And the weird thing is they [00:24:00] get clinical results. So, you know, I, I kind of badmouthed the VA a little bit earlier, but let’s get the VA a break. The VA is working with a group at Boston University looking at these low power. L e d devices to treat PTs D and veterans. So it’s a very small study. You know, l e d pad here, l e d up your nose cuz you know your nose.

You can get closer to your brain supposedly, but still, you know, you’re not, theses don’t travel three centimeters, but you know, again, they’re getting some modest clinical results. As long as you keep doing it, you see clinical improvement when you stop. It starts to regress. And this is the difference between these low power devices and there’s a bunch of ’em being sold on the market.

Um, you can buy, you know, spend $2,000, get a device, go ahead, but you know, you, you’re doing it for the rest of your life. With the multi watt infrared light [00:25:00] therapy with Lum, we treat our patients, you know, 20, 30 treatments. They go home, they’re done. You know, the guy I mentioned earlier, he is over at this brewery as an electrician.

We treated him back in 20 13, 10 years later, doing fantastic. Wow. So Illuminate makes a permanent change while these low power devices make a transient

Scott DeLuzio: change. Interesting. Yeah. And, and so when you’re, you’re doing those low powered ones, um, they’re, they’re not, I wonder if it’s because the. They’re not as intense, they’re not getting far enough into the brain or maybe a combination of, of those.

But it seems like when you’re doing these, these infrared, uh, beams that are, are getting deeper into the brain and you, they’re much more, more powerful. Um, you know, but not so powerful that they’re setting anyone’s hair on fire. Um, you know, they’re, they’re [00:26:00] getting into the brain and. You know, able to affect some meaningful change kind of long term.

Right. Uh, it seems like, mm-hmm. Um, now is the, the three centimeters into the brain, is that a, like, where did that magic number come from and, and, and where did and, and the beams get in that far? Does it have an effect on the rest of the brain because there’s, there’s more than. You know, oh, yeah. Call it six centimeters, you know, from one end to the other.

Uh, depending on which way you’re looking at it. Does it, does it radiate through to the more central part of the brain as as well?

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Right. Yeah. So three centimeters was truly arbitrary. I, I picked that number out of the, really, out of the air, but it’s based on anatomy. I mean, from almost any angle I can, if I can get three centimeters in, I can go to most, okay.

Parts of the brain. Uh, that are clinically important. You know, the brain stems, the struggle is right in the middle [00:27:00] of the brain, and that’s, you know, key for things like Parkinson’s disease. But, you know, still our Parkinson’s patients are seeing improvement. Um, so the, the, the infrared light, it, it does.

Get deflected and refracted. And so, you know, truly I’d, I haven’t done the study yet. I wanna do the study where I actually look at, you know, with infrared uh, uh, photography, look at what the brain looks like when you put that beam in there. Cuz I’m pretty sure it just lights up everything. Sure. Because it bounces around.

So in fact, it’s delivering benefit to the entire brain. And this is one of the beauties of light. Um, you know, so what we’re seeing, you know, clinically, you know, we have patients who have depression and we, we published this study, uh, of, uh, a group of patients with depression. 93% of them responded, and more than half of them responded within four weeks.

So four weeks is eight treatments. [00:28:00] Um, and so if you think about an ssri, an ssri, an antidepressant takes six to eight weeks to work, and we’re getting the results in four weeks. And the, you know, the, the efficacy or the response rate to Prozac is like 17%. And we’re getting a

Scott DeLuzio: 93 and it, and it’s even lower when they stop taking it because it, it doesn’t have the long, long-term effect the way you were talking about with, with this treatment.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Right. Right. Yeah. I mean, who wants to take a pill every day for the rest of their life? I mean, I take a handful every morning myself, you know, for one thing or another. But, you know, it’s like, I want Yeah,

Scott DeLuzio: if you don’t have to, I would rather not, you know? There you go. Exactly. So,

Dr. Theodore Henderson: yeah. And in, in ptsd, you know, PTSD is, is.

There’s a lot going on in ptsd. There’s all this hyper arousal, there’s the, the recurrent memories and you know, so for our patients with PTSD d it’s been really remarkable. I mean, just kind of shocking. Uh, we have one veteran, um, and I won’t say too much about his details cuz he is, he’s asked me not to, [00:29:00] but he had carried around PTs d for 49 years.

Wow. When the jet planes flew over, were near Air Force Base, so they do. When the jet planes flew over, he was in the basement sobbing. Um, and this was his life. And, you know, the VA had, you know, uh, let’s do some group therapy and oh, we’ll put you on an antidepressant. He actually came to me, to my private practice to, to help him with his depression.

Um, and so we started working on that, but then this PTs d really became clear that that was a root problem, and he had, he came and got infrared light treatment. And these are his words exactly. He said During the sixth treatment, I saw the light, not, not with my eyes, but I saw the light in my mind and everything shifted.

That’s interesting. And he’s been symptom free ever since.

Scott DeLuzio: That’s incredible. Um, I wanna get more into this, uh, in just a minute, but we’re gonna take another quick [00:30:00] break to pay the bills, but when we get back, we’ll, we’ll get a little bit more into this. So stay tuned. So, Dr. Henderson, before the, the last break, you were talking about, um, you know, this success story that you’re having with this one veteran.

Um, and you had mentioned a couple, uh, that. Had gone through this treatment and, uh, you know, seeing the light, you know, in the brain and, and kind of just sparked this, this change. Um, and we’ve been talking a lot about, uh, PTs D and tbi, uh, depression, things along those lines. Um, there are other things though that, that kind of pop up in people’s minds, um, through different traumatic experiences, things like survivor’s guilt, um, and mm-hmm.

I would. Like to just kind of see from your point of view, um, you know, how does this help people who have that guilt? The survivor’s guilt, you know, a lot of veterans have that, you know, they, they see a [00:31:00] friend who, who was killed or, you know, something happens, you know, and they, they end up having that, that survivor’s guilt.

Um, and how can that, um, be treated as well through this or, or can it be treated as well through this? Mm-hmm.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Well, let’s first, let’s understand a little bit of the neurophysiology of survivor’s guilds, cuz it, it, it, it really has a physiological basis. I mean, all of this stuff does, um, sometimes we understand it, sometimes we don’t.

But in the part of the brain that, that is involved in anxiety, Uh, and there’s a couple of different areas. One is the amygdala, which is deep inside the brain. It’s about the size of an almond and it dictates everything. Um, and the other area is the insulate cortex, which is involved in sort of, uh, uh, how, how we emotionally relate to the world, to the universe, how we emotionally see ourselves.

And [00:32:00] so, In, in survivor’s guilt. Um, and in any anxiety, uh, what happens is that there’s this reverberating circuit that gets started and that reverberating circuit starts to drive the anxiety. And so with survivor’s guilt, it’s like I should have done something different. I could have saved him. I could have saved it.

If only, if only, if only, if only. And. You know, how do you stop that reverberating circuit? And that’s, you know, that’s from a, from, it’s interesting from a pharmacological standpoint. Um, I, I’ve had really good success with, uh, you know, kind of medications that are off label, uh, for the treatment of things like anxiety, for example, Gabapentin.

Gabapentin is, is FDA approved for the treatment of pain and the treatment of, um, seizures? Well, pain is what it’s, it’s, uh, signals coming up, small, skinny little axons. And what Gabapentin does is it slows [00:33:00] down the impulses. Through skinny little axons. Now what are those anxiety circuits made up of?

Skinny little axons. So not surprisingly, gabapentin slows down that reverberating. So gabapentin has been a really good medication for people with anxiety and you know, with these reverberating. And what if, what if, what if? What if, what if it the infrared light. Therapy though, um, it really gets at, uh, this from a different angle.

Um, because again, it’s turning on neuroplasticity. So we’re literally rewiring, um, these circuits, um, as, and the brain does it on its own. It’s not like, uh, uh, you turn on the, the, the BD enough. You turn on that brain-derived neurotrophic factor, the growth factor that drives neuroplasticity and you stand back.

Uh, and you know, so we have patients, they come in, they get, you know, six, eight treatments, they go home, you know, cuz [00:34:00] they’re flying in from Florida or California or Wisconsin or whatever, and they come back a month later to get the next six, eight treatments and they say, doc, this is weirdest thing. I feel better.

I, I’ve been treated a month, but I’ve just gotten progressively better. And that’s because neuroplasticity unfolds over time, right? Axons grow a millimeter a day. You’re not gonna make ’em, you know, grow, you know, three inches in a day. They’re, they’re gonna do what they’re gonna do. And so neuroplasticity unfolds.

Yeah. And,

Scott DeLuzio: and the way, uh, neuroplasticity this, that, that concept, like you said, it doesn’t just happen overnight. It doesn’t happen, you know, right away. Um, Uh, the way it’s been described to me is that it’s, uh, sort of like a, like a stream, uh, going through an area which might eventually become a river. You know, it gets deeper and deeper and deeper, but over time and after years and years and years, you get the Grand Canyon, right?

But, but that takes [00:35:00] time. You’re not gonna expect to just, you know, turn on the floodgates or, or open up the floodgates and, and have the Grand Canyon tomorrow. You, you. Have to realize that that’s gonna take a little bit of time. But, um, but like you’re saying, it, it’s not, you know, over the course of a lifetime either.

It, there it does take some time, but it’s not, um, you know, measured in mm-hmm. You know, super long time period. If you’re, if you’re, uh, looking to affect some sort of change. Right.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Yeah, I, I think what we’re doing though is we’re really turning on something very powerful in the brain, very powerful mechanism that is untapped.

Um, you know, I’m not the only guy working in infra Redd light, this whole. A bunch of us. In fact, we have, uh, Harvard has a grand rounds for photo biomodulation, which is photo light, biolife modulation changing. Um, you know, we’re, when we’re talking about all sorts of things, so there are people who are exploring, you know, treating Alzheimer’s.

Uh, [00:36:00] they’re exploring treating Parkinson’s disease with some really good success, uh, treating autism. Um, you know, we’re, we’re having great success with post covid fatigue syndrome or long covid, and a lot of people are talking about that. Uh, A D H D we’re seeing improvement in A D H D. So in some ways, infrared light therapy is the fifth branch of medicine, uh, as some people describe it.

And, uh, I think we’re just now tapping into the possibilities.

Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And. These possibilities, like as you get more and more, uh, you know, research or more and more, you know, people going through the treatment and seeing what those results look like, um, you know, it probably will, will lend to, uh, More, uh, uh, more flexibility in the treatment in terms of what it, what it’s going to be treating.

You know, you might start off with people with right. PTSD or depression or things along [00:37:00] those lines, and then you start expanding it to other, uh, conditions as well. Um, and, and see how that, that might help because there are, there’s a lot of. Stuff that is affected by what goes on up in the brain. There’s a whole world of, of things and mm-hmm.

You know, any, anything from, um, uh, you know, other neurological conditions and, and things like that. I would imagine that they eventually will start to, uh, you know, see some benefit from that type of thing too, but, I wanna give, uh, a little bit of time here to talk about your, your nonprofit and how it works to, uh, subsidize the evaluation treatment of veterans and first responders.

Mm-hmm. Um, can you tell us a little bit more about the organization? I know we, we briefly mentioned it, uh, earlier in the episode, but can you tell us a little bit more about it and, and how people can, uh, you know, get involved with it?

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Yeah. Thank you for that. Um, so the Neural Laser Foundation is, is both a research foundation and a service foundation.

[00:38:00] So on the research side, you know, all of this stuff we’re talking about, this is all clinical experience. All right? So I can publish open case series and you know, and you know, medicine will say, oh, well that’s kind of interesting, but where’s the double blind placebo controlled trial? Right until those happen, uh, none of this is gonna be hardcore accepted.

That’s probably part of what holds up the va, is that they wanna see double blind placebo controlled clinical results. Um, this is why the VA doesn’t like spec scans, is they’ve just not gotten to that point where they’re willing to accept them, uh, even though we have those kind of studies done. So, you know, we need to do those double blame.

Controlled studies. Um, you know, TBI would be the study I’d do first to do a study with about 60 people is about 2 million realistically. So any, any, any, uh, wealthy donors out there, let me know. Um, but the, the, so that is, you know, part of what we’re working on is [00:39:00] trying to get funding, et cetera. Um, the second is service, so we understand veterans, um, you know, uh, Want to get better.

And that the VA cannot necessarily deliver what we’re doing. And so, you know, we’re able to provide, uh, uh, a subsidization, you know, uh, 30 to 50% of the cost of treatment. Uh, and, and we often can subsidize completely the cost of the spec scan to get the baseline scan. Um, and that’s just, it’s something we do because, you know, The, the, the founder, co-founder, and I believe that, you know, veterans served our country.

They deserve our respect, they deserve our honor, and they deserve our help. And, and so that’s part of what we’re doing. And so, uh, you know, we, uh, uh, solicit, uh, donations from everyone. Uh, we we’re part of the, [00:40:00] uh, giving Tuesday in Colorado and, uh, giving Tuesday and Facebook. Uh, and those are kind of the ways that we sort of get the money to drive this engine of helping other people.

Yeah, and I, I

Scott DeLuzio: think, uh, again, I just wanna kind of echo what you’re just saying there. For anyone who is out there who’s listening, uh, you know, this type of research is not cheap. And needs the, the funding. Um, and also the type of treatments are not cheap either. And for the veterans to continue to be able to get access to, uh, this, these subsidized treatments, um, you know, it requires a, a bit of funding.

So you know, anyone out there who is willing and able to, uh, you know, donate some, some money to this organization to help out, uh, not only the veterans who are getting the treatments, but also. The, the researchers who are doing the research to determine, you know, is this even a good treatment to do? Um, or, you know, how effective can it be for x, y, or z uh, condition?

Um, mm-hmm. You [00:41:00] know, definitely, you know, uh, reach out and, and, uh, donate some money to this organization because, uh, without that kind of support, um, You know, the, the veterans are gonna be just, again, relying on the va. Um, you know, I don’t wanna knock the va. A lot of great people working for the va. Um, but it’s a large government organization like any other, and they’re limited in terms of what they can do.

Um, you know, they, they have done quite a bit in the last, uh, you know, probably 20 years. It’s probably night and day difference between what the VA was at the start of the Afghanistan war to what it is now. But, um, You know, it, it’s still, there’s, there’s a long way to go, especially with all the advances like the ones that we’ve been talking about.

Uh, and I, I think that is just a kind of a crucial component, um, to, to understand that the VA is not the be all end all. Uh, there are many options out there and, uh, you know, similar to what you’re just talking about, um, there, there’s people out there who wanna help [00:42:00] veterans, but a lot of times we need the funding for that in order to, to get it to work, right?

Mm-hmm. Yeah, that’s right. So again, um, this, this organization, um, It’s subsidizing, uh, the, the treatment, the, the, um, uh, mm-hmm. You know, all of the stuff for the veterans. Not a hundred percent in, in all cases, but, um, you know, it’s, it’s making it, uh, reduce cost, uh, for the veterans. Um, I, I highly encourage people who are out there who have, feel like they’ve tried everything.

They’re, they’re still depressed, they still are suffering from ptsd. They, their T B I, uh, is still. Kicking their butt, you know, all of this stuff that you might be struggling with. Try something else. Yeah. You might have to, you know, come up with some, some funds might have to travel, uh, you know, a little bit.

But, but a lot of it’s being covered, so, um, you know, definitely check it out. I think that’s, [00:43:00] uh, definitely worth the, the time and effort to, to go do that because, like you said, this is, this is a lifetime, uh, you know, change. This is going to help people for the rest of their lives. Uh, going forward. Got it.

Not, not just a, you know, it’s gonna help you for the next week or two. Right. So, mm-hmm. Well, we’re gonna take another quick break when we get back. Uh, I wanna talk about your, your book real quick and let people know where they can go to find out more information about some of the treatments and, and things like that, that we, uh, we’re talking about.

So stay tuned. So, Dr. Henderson, uh, again, it is been. Uh, great chatting with you about all of this. Um, I wanna give you a, a chance to talk a little bit about your book, uh, brighter Days Ahead, um, and tell us about that book and then, um, yeah, where people can go to, to find it and, and what it’s all about.

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Oh, thanks for that.

Um, so brighter days ahead is sort of a way, it’s, it’s really written [00:44:00] for the layperson and it, it’s a way to understand, you know, how we’ve miscon conceptualized depression. It’s not, it’s not a chemical imbalance, it’s not a shortage of serotonin. Uh, it’s really about this neurodegenerative change that we’ve been talking about here.

Uh, that’s what leads to depression. Um, as I said before, the hippocampus gets smaller in depression, and then when a person gets over depression, the hippocampus gets bigger again. So this degeneration is reversible. Um, and I use ketamine. We haven’t talked much about ketamine today, but I use ketamine as a model.

Ketamine, you know, it’s a anesthetic, a street drug. It causes hallucinations and dissociation. Um, but it also turns on bd n f in a very powerful way. And so it turns on neuroplasticity. And so, you know, I think a lot of these clinics sort of don’t do ketamine, right? They do three times a week for two [00:45:00] weeks.

So, You’re packing into two weeks, six infusions, and a axon only grows a millimeter a day. So you can do the math and see the problem where you’re not gonna get, you know, neuroplasticity in two weeks. So the way that we approach ketamine is much different. And I explain how that all leads to understanding how the brain.

Changes in depression and ptsd, D and traumatic brain injury, and how we can reverse that. So, you know, I devote a chapter to talking about this infrared light therapy. For those who wanna understand this a lot better, there’s a lot more detail there. I devote a chapter to talking about infections that affect the brain.

And which we didn’t touch on today, but infections can cause depression. Infections are the cause of tr uh, chronic fatigue syndrome. Post covid fatigue, of course is infection plus inflammation. So, uh, the role of inflammation and infections in the brain [00:46:00] is talked about in this book. So the book has, uh, a lot of vignettes of patients’ experiences, and I think the message of the book is one of hope.

And it’s one of, if we change the way that we approach these diseases, We’re gonna get a better outcome and people are gonna get healthy and they’re gonna,

Scott DeLuzio: they’re back. And, and I think that’s so brighter. That’s, that’s the message we want to get across to the listeners here. Um, and again, brighter Days Ahead is the book.

I’ll have a link to the book in the show notes for the listeners who wanna, uh, take a, take a look at that book, um, and get a copy of that figure out. A little bit more about, um, the, the different types of treatments that we’re talking about, um, and, and other things that maybe we didn’t have time to talk about today.

Um, but for the listeners who want to get involved with this treatment, uh, that you’re, you were talking about earlier in the episode, where can they go to find out more information about it?

Dr. Theodore Henderson: Yeah, so, so those who wanna, uh, [00:47:00] understand, uh, infrared light therapy, multi one infrared light therapy or, or Lumin, uh, go to neuro luminance.com.

So neuro, N E U R O hyphen luminance, L U M i n A n c e.com. Uh, that’s. The, our treatment company, um, and that has all the information about all sorts of treatments. There’s several, uh, videos of patient’s responses For those who are interested in the foundation. Um, you wanna go to tbi.care. not.com, not.org.care tbi.care, and that’s the foundation website.

There’s, there’s videos of us talking about the science. There’s videos. The, the veteran I mentioned earlier, he talks about his experience. Um, other, uh, patients talk about their experiences and there’s a lot of information on the science. Uh, and through tho either one of those websites, you can then reach me, uh, or my team.[00:48:00]

Uh, if you’re looking for treatment, if you’re looking, uh, to make a donation, um, and either one of those ways will work. Well, that’s excellent.

Scott DeLuzio: And I’ll, I’ll have a link to all of these websites that we talked about, a link to your book, um, and the, the nonprofit and the, uh, all the information that we have here.

Uh, so anyone who’s looking for that, it’ll be in the show notes. Uh, Dr. Henderson, I do appreciate you taking the time to come on and share, uh, the work that you’re doing, uh, to. Help better the lives of, uh, everybody with, uh, you know, brain injuries, uh, veterans and non-veterans alike. I, I really do appreciate you taking the time to come on, so thank.

It’s really been my pleasure. Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to support the show, please check out Scott’s book, Surviving Son on Amazon. All of the sales from that book go directly back into this podcast and work to help veterans in need. You can also follow the Drive On Podcast on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and wherever you listen to [00:49:00] podcasts.

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