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  • Lasers could help treat bowel disease pain

    Author: AAP

Jazmine Domagala is hopeful a little bit of light will help reduce her pain, fatigue, anxiety and depression.

The 20-year-old has suffered a day-to-day grind of debilitating symptoms since being diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, an inflammatory bowel condition, seven years ago.

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"It's also very isolating because I make decisions based on my disease," she said.

"Unlike most other 20-year-olds I don't go out drinking and partying late into the night because I know I will be floored the next day."

However, Ms Domagala's life could be about to change if a medical trial she is taking part in at Brisbane's Mater Hospital is successful.


She is one of 28 inflammatory bowel disease patients, aged 18 to 35, chosen by Mater Research for a study on using laser light therapy or photobiomodulation (PBM) to treat inflammation.

Senior researchers Dr Tatjana Ewais and Associate Professor Liisa Laakso say the trial could help more than 10,000 Australians suffering the symptoms of IBDs.

"We believe this treatment has the potential to dramatically improve the quality of life of young people by reducing fatigue, depression, and pain associated with IBD," Dr Ewais said.

Dr Laasko said patients will be treated for 30 minutes a week for 10 weeks, with researchers checking their inflammatory markers, along with the diversity and composition of gut bacteria.

The participants will complete questionnaires about their fatigue and physical activity and keep diaries recording their pain levels throughout the trial.

"IBD is a debilitating condition, and we're excited to begin this important research which will provide a clearer understanding of the power of infrared laser therapy to change the lives of young people affected by it," Dr Laasko said.

Ms Domagala is hopeful the laser treatment can reduce her Crohn's-induced fatigue and pain, and the attendant mental health impacts she suffers.

"It would be great if this treatment could help me get a better quality of life," she said.

Dr Wayne Markman, chief executive of laser therapy specialists SYMBYX, said the non-invasive treatment has already proved helpful for Parkinson's Disease patients suffering chronic pain, inflammation and other symptoms.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved PBM for treating inflammation, he said.


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