Bright light therapy may improve dementia symptoms in elderlyJune 11th, 2008 - 3:17 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, June 11 (ANI): A new study from Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Amsterdam, has revealed that bright light therapy can significantly improve dementia symptoms in older people.
In addition to bright light therapy, use of melatonin also improved sleep.
The elderly patients often face disturbances of mood, behaviour, sleep, and activities of daily living.
These symptoms have been associated with disturbances of the circadian rhythm (the regular recurrence, in cycles of about 24 hours, of biological processes or activities).
“The circadian timing system is highly sensitive to environmental light and the hormone melatonin and may not function optimally in the absence of their synchronizing effects. In elderly patients with dementia, synchronization may be [diminished] if light exposure and melatonin production are reduced,” wrote the authors.
The study led by Dr Rixt F. Riemersma-van der Lek conducted a trial at 12 elderly group care facilities in the Netherlands that evaluated the effects of up to 3.5 years of daily supplementation of bright light and/or melatonin on a number of health outcomes, including symptoms of dementia and sleep disturbances.
The study included 189 facility residents with an average age 85.8 years. Among them 90 percent were female and 87 percent had dementia.
Six of the facilities had bright lighting installed in ceiling-mounted fixtures. The lights were on daily.
The participants were randomized to receive evening melatonin (2.5 mg) or placebo and participated an average of 15 months (maximum period of 3.5 years).
The findings revealed that that bright light lessened cognitive deterioration by a relative 5 percent. It also reduced depressive symptoms by a relative 19 percent and diminished the gradual increase in functional limitations by a relative 53 percent.
Moreover, melatonin reduced the time to fall asleep by a relative 19 percent and increased total sleep duration by 6 percent, but adversely affected caregiver ratings of withdrawn behaviour and mood expressions.
In combination with bright light, melatonin reduced aggressive behaviour by a relative 9 percent.
“In conclusion, the simple measure of increasing the illumination level in group care facilities [improved] symptoms of disturbed cognition, mood, behavior, functional abilities, and sleep, wrote the authors.
Melatonin improved sleep, but its long-term use by elderly individuals can only be recommended in combination with light to suppress adverse effects on mood.
The long-term application of whole-day bright light did not have adverse effects, on the contrary, and could be considered for use in care facilities for elderly individuals with dementia,” they added. (ANI)
- Cataract surgery improves mood, sleep in Alzheimer's - Oct 26, 2011
- Yellowing of eye lens behind sleep disorders - Sep 01, 2011
- Winter blues? Go for light therapy! - Oct 31, 2011
- Goggle-like device could improve sleep quality in elderly - May 30, 2009
- Using cellphones, tablets before bedtime affects sleep - Aug 30, 2012
- In spring, extended daylight disrupts teens' sleep patterns - Jul 27, 2010
- Nighttime alertness probed - Aug 27, 2009
- A rhythm awry means rolls of fat - Aug 30, 2012
- Liver's role vital in regulating body clock - May 04, 2012
- Midlife crisis could be linked with dementia - May 08, 2012
- Tart cherry juice drinkers sleep better - Dec 09, 2011
- Sleep loss can cause testosterone levels to plummet - Jun 01, 2011
- Poor brain connectivity behind many faces of depression - Feb 28, 2012
- Exposure to room light before bedtime may impact sleep quality, BP - Jan 13, 2011
- How changing light could help people with dementia, other diseases - May 13, 2009
Tags: academy of arts and sciences, bright lighting, circadian rhythm, circadian timing, cognitive deterioration, dementia symptoms, environmental light, facility residents, functional limitations, group care facilities, hormone melatonin, light exposure, maximum period, melatonin, melatonin production, regular recurrence, riemersma, royal netherlands academy, sleep disturbances, symptoms of dementia