According to foreign media reports, Hanli Liu, professor of bioengineering at the University of Texas at Arlington, is working to improve the memory and cognitive functions of astronauts in space missions by shining light on the brains of astronauts.
It is reported that she and Jacek Dmochowski, assistant professor of bioengineering at the City University of New York, received a $800,000 grant from NASA for research on light-based technology to increase the available energy of astronauts’ brain cells and improve astronaut’s performance.
Her work is to study how to use lasers to provide near-infrared light to the human brain to detect symptoms of traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. Recently, her work has been extended to study the neurophysiology of non-invasive transmission of near-infrared lasers Principles to improve human cognition. This research enables people to understand how light stimulates mitochondria, which produces more oxygen in the brain to increase brain metabolism and reduce memory loss.
With this new project funding, she will study whether LEDs can replace lasers as a transmission method for near-infrared light. Specifically, she needs to find the wavelength range and duration required to produce the desired effect.
Generally speaking, lasers are heavy and bulky, occupying too much space in the narrow space of a spacecraft or space station. LEDs are lighter and smaller, and can be more easily mounted on headbands or similar devices. In addition, LEDs are safer to human eyes than the light emitted by lasers.
LED light in the red and near-infrared range has been widely used to relieve pain and treat acne, but few researchers have strictly studied its feasibility and limitations in promoting and stimulating brain metabolism.
She said, “Researchers have evidence that memory can be improved after 8 to 10 minutes of exposure to light in a specific area of the human brain.” “We are proving that if we can increase the power of LEDs within a safe level, we can Make LED light reach the cortex like a laser, but safer, smaller and easier to use."