Tiny flashes of infrared light from LEDs can heal wounds, build muscle, help heal the effects of diabetes and repair blindness?but nobody knows why. LEDs are the tiny, ultra-efficient light-emitting diodes, or bulbs, like the ones found in digital clocks and TV remote controls. Despite being tested by NASA, the Pentagon and hospitals, pathologist Marti Jett says, “There’s not a clear idea of how this works.”

Noah Shachtman writes in Wired.com about research done by Dr. Harry Whelan, who used LEDs to restore the vision of rats blinded by toxic doses of methanol. After exposure to the LED flashes, 95% of their injuries were repaired.

Handheld LEDs are great for taking into space and aboard submarines. NASA uses them to rebuild astronauts’ muscles during weightlessness. Dr. Joseph Prendergast uses LED therapy on patients with diabetic neuropathy, in order to avoid amputations.

Dr. David Margolis uses LEDs to heal a side effect of chemotherapy called mucositis, which causes canker sores in the mouth and throat. He says, “?It appears to those of us working in the ward?that patients getting the light treatment get significantly less sores.” He has “absolutely no idea” why and says, “It’s my first venture into the light.”

There are lots of things that really work but we don’t know why.

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