By Kathy Walsh
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) - A retired police officer from Colorado Springs says a high-powered light treatment has given her her life back. She believes a neuro-laser has helped reverse brain damage caused by severe concussions.
The therapy is non-invasive. The laser is Food and Drug Administration-approved but the treatment is experimental. Jennifer Fortezzo swears by it.
Once a week for half an hour, Fortezzo focuses on healing her brain. In an office in Centennial, Chiropractic Neurologist Dr. Larry Morries runs a high-powered neuro-laser over Fortezza's forehead.
"What we're doing is putting near-infrared light into the brain," Morries explained. "We are stimulating the cells."
To Fortezzo, a wife and mother, the light has been a lifesaver.
"It's miraculous," the 43-year-old told CBS4 Health Specialist Kathy Walsh.
Fortezzo lost a baby girl in 2006. After 10 years as a Colorado Springs police officer, she retired because of a hip injury. She says she was depressed, suicidal.
"I was literally in bed in the fetal position all day long," she said.
Fortezzo said a scan showed injuries to her brain she thinks were caused by sports and work concussions. In March, she started therapy at the Neuro-Laser Foundation.
"It's giving me my life back," Fortezzo said.
Her husband, Dwight Draper, agrees.
"The progress she's made is just unbelievable," Draper said.
Morries said the near-infrared light penetrates the skin and skull to energize the brain and stimulate blood supply and oxygen to the brain.
"These patients are profoundly better," said Pychiatrist Dr. Theodore Henderson.
Henderson said the neuro-laser turns on the brain's own healing processes.
"I see this as the future of brain injury and the future of the treatment of other neuro degenerative diseases, like dementia and Parkinson's," Henderson said.
Henderson and Morries founded the Neuro-Laser Foundation. They are trying to raise $680,000 to fund more research and to help other first responders and veterans get the chance to see the light.
The doctors do take patients. It is $100 per treatment for first responders and veterans, $200 per treatment for everyone else.
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