07 Feb

News in Alzheimer’s Research: The Link Between Light Therapy and Alzheimer’s

Research scientists are shedding new light on strategies to potentially impact Alzheimer’s disease: light therapy. The effects of light are only just beginning to be tapped, and already are displaying some interesting and promising results in the field of Alzheimer’s research.

For example, MIT research scientists are experimenting with a form of flickering light therapy, in which the visual cortex of mice is exhibiting a short-term reduction of beta amyloid plaques. And even though there’s no indication up to this point on how this could correlate to human studies, it is certainly worth keeping an eye on.

Another study having really good results in mature adults with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light that has a blue tint, which is thought to help control the body’s circadian rhythm – leading to better sleeping patterns. Mariana Figueiro of the Lighting Research Center at the New York Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, along with geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Guerman Ermolenko, tested the effects of blue light on patients with Alzheimer’s who were having trouble sleeping at night. The seniors were exposed to blue light during the day. After the treatment, in each case, the patients were able to sleep through the night.

Interestingly, the thinking behind these effects stems from the notion that the bluish light imitates the blue sky, causing our circadian rhythm to be in wake-up mode, and that it could also increase our levels of melatonin during the evening – contributing to more wakefulness in the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.

A word of warning: some Alzheimer’s patients have become over-stimulated by exposure to blue light. It is important to attentively monitor seniors’ reactions, and increase yellow light appropriately if unwanted side effects are noticed.

At Heaven at Home Senior Care in Denton, TX, we’re aiding individuals with Alzheimer’s, as well as the family members who care for them, with a variety of individualized services to enhance quality of life. Our specially trained, patient and caring caregivers offer family caregivers the opportunity to have a much needed break, knowing their elderly loved one is well cared for. We work hard to ensure seniors are safe and living life to their fullest potential at all times. Call us at 866-381-0500 or contact us online to learn more.