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Paolo Cassano, MD, PhD

2023 Presentation(s):

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Neurodevelopmental disorders refer to a group of conditions that affect the development of the nervous system, resulting in difficulties with social interaction, communication, and behavior. Despite its significant prevalence, current treatments primarily focus on symptom management and have variable efficacy. Transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) with near-infrared light (NIR) has emerged as a promising area of research for a wide range of neuropsychiatric disorders. This non-invasive and safe neurostimulation technique has shown benefits for major depressive and bipolar disorders, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease, and traumatic brain injury. This presentation examines the existing preclinical and clinical evidence for using t-PBM in treating neurodevelopmental disorders, including the mechanisms underlying its potential therapeutic effects. Although some evidence suggests that t-PBM may help treat these disorders, further research is needed to confirm its efficacy, tolerability and optimal parameters for treatment. Keywords: Neurodevelopmental disorders; transcranial photobiomodulation; near-infrared light; Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
Speaker Bio:

Dr. Cassano is an Assistant Professor in Psychiatry at Harvard University, and Director of Photobiomodulation at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Division of Neuropsychiatry and at the MGH Depression Clinical and Research Program. 

Dr. Cassano has served as a principal investigator on multiple studies on transcranial photobiomodulation (t-PBM) for several neuropsychiatric disorders, such as major depressive disorder (MDD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), mild cognitive impairment (MCI) due to Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Down syndrome (DS). 

Dr. Cassano’s research on t-PBM was funded by the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH), by the National Institute of Aging (NIA), by numerous non-profit foundations such as the Alzheimer Association, the Brain and Behavior Research Foundation (NARSAD), the Down Syndrome Research Foundation (UK) and the Milken Institute. The Harvard Dupont Warren/Livingston Fellowship and private companies have also funded Dr. Cassano’s research on t-PBM. 

In 2016, Dr. Cassano co-founded a neurotech, Niraxx Light Therapeutics Inc.

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