Salud

‘Luz verde’ a una nueva terapia contra la migraña

La migraña, una enfermedad con síntomas muy incapacitantes, es muy frecuente y casi todo el mundo conoce a alguien que la sufre, afectando a alguna persona en uno de cada cuatro hogares en EEUU, según la Universidad de Arizona (UA).

Esta dolencia hace que más del 90 %  de quienes la sufren no puedan funcionar normalmente durante sus ataques, que pueden acompañarse de alteraciones visuales, náuseas, vómitos, mareos, sensibilidad extrema al sonido, la luz, el tacto y el olor, y hormigueo o entumecimiento en las extremidades o la cara, según la Fundación de Investigación de la Migraña de EEUU (https://migraineresearchfoundation.org).

Ahora las personas con migraña podrían ver reducido su dolor y mejorar su calidad de vida gracias a una investigación sobre una terapia preventiva con luz verde desarrollada por especialistas del Departamento de Ciencias de la Salud de la UA (UAHS), en Arizona, Estados Unidos.

Los doctores Mohab Ibrahim y Amol Patwardhan, del UAHS (https://uahs.arizona.edu), vienen estudiando los efectos de la luz verde en roedores desde hace varios años y, recientemente, el doctor Ibrahim dirigió un equipo que completó el primer estudio clínico en humanos para evaluar el potencial de este método como una posible terapia preventiva para pacientes con migraña.

El grupo de Ibrahim, autor principal del estudio, profesor asociado de Anestesiología, Farmacología y Neurocirugía y director de la Clínica de Manejo del Dolor Crónico en la UA,  formado por 29 participantes y en todos los cuales habían fallado las múltiples terapias tradicionales para tratar la migraña, recibió una exposición controlada a la luz verde.

«En este ensayo tratamos la luz verde como si fuera una droga», señala Ibrahim. “Pero no se trata de cualquier luz verde, sino que debe tener la intensidad, frecuencia y duración adecuadas, y aplicarse con el método de exposición oportuno. Al igual que con los medicamentos, con la luz hay un punto óptimo», apunta.

BANDA LUMINOSA ‘ANALGÉSICA’.

La iluminación a la que se expusieron los participantes en este estudio la producía una banda o tira luminosa conformada por lámpara LED que emitían luz verde de una longitud de onda e intensidad controladas, la cual se colocaba próxima a los pacientes y era lo bastante brillante como para permitir que  leyeran o practicaran ejercicio físico.

A los participantes se les entregaron las tiras luminosas e instrucciones para que completaran el estudio en su casa. Durante la exposición a esta luz verde, no se permitió el encendido de otras fuentes luminosa luz, como los televisores, o las pantallas de computadoras o teléfonos inteligentes.

Esta nueva terapia redujo en un promedio de un 60 % la cantidad de días de dolor de cabeza por mes, según el UAHS.

Usando una escala numérica de dolor de 0 a 10, los participantes también notaron que la exposición a la luz verde les redujo el dolor en un 60 %, pasando en la escala de medir 8 a 3,2.

La terapia de luz verde también acortó la duración de los dolores de cabeza y mejoró la capacidad de los participantes para conciliar el sueño y permanecer dormidos, realizar tareas domésticas, hacer ejercicio y trabajar, según los investigadores.

Ninguno de los participantes del estudio informó que la exposición a la luz verde le causar efectos secundarios, según destacan.

“La mayoría de los pacientes estaba extremadamente feliz con este resultado y 28 de los 29 participantes decidieron quedarse con la cinta luminosa tras finalizar el estudio”, según Ibrahim.

“El uso de una terapia no farmacológica como la luz verde puede ser de gran ayuda para una variedad de pacientes que no quieren tomar medicamentos o no responden a ellos”, asegura el doctor Patwardhan, profesor asociado y vicepresidente de investigación del Departamento de Anestesiología, en la UA.

IDEA SURGIDA DE UNA HISTORIA FAMILIAR.

“La idea de este método surgió del caso de mi hermano, quien  sufre de dolores de cabeza y me informó repetidamente que su dolor mejoraba al relajarse en su jardín”, explica Ibrahim a Efe.

Un día este científico pudo comprobar este “efecto verde” en sí mismo, cuando estando aquejado por un dolor de cabeza, se detuvo en un parque durante unos 30 minutos y su dolor mejoró.

Al analizar este efecto, primero pensó que quizás los árboles  liberan en el aire alguna sustancia química con propiedades analgésicas, y el segundo pensamiento que le vino a la mente fue que ese efecto calmante quizá obedeciera  al color verde,  que es el predominante en la mayoría de los parques y jardines.

Ibrahim comenzó a probar esta teoría exponiendo a ratones de laboratorio a luz de diferentes colores, descubriendo  “que el verde y el azul producían analgesia en estos animales”, pero continuando después sus ensayos solo con el verde, “porque el azul puede afectar los ritmos del sueño”, según explica a Efe.

A partir de estos hallazgos, que “están de acuerdo con los de un grupo independiente dirigido por el doctor Burstein en Harvard, y tener constancia de que “la exposición a la luz verde es relativamente segura y casi no se informan efectos secundarios”, consiguió la aprobación de la UA para efectuar  ensayos clínicos.

ESTO ES SOLO EL COMIENZO. 

“Mediante este estudio preliminar hemos comprobado que la terapia con luz verde es buena, y esto es en sí un gran hallazgo, pero ahora estoy interesado en saber cómo funciona todo esto y entender su mecanismo”, señala el doctor Ibrahim.

“¿A través de qué mecanismo neurológico alivia la luz verde la migraña? Esta es una pregunta muy importante, pero todavía no tenemos la respuesta completa”, señala este científico a Efe.

“Nuestras investigaciones sobre roedores indican que el efecto de la luz verde se produce a través del sistema visual, pero también sugieren que podrían estar actuando al mismo tiempo varios mecanismos para producirlo, por ejemplo vinculados al sistema inmunológico y a algunos centros cerebrales del dolor”, concluye.

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