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Is Light Therapy an Effective Dementia Treatment?

Researchers are shedding light on a new dementia treatment option: light therapy. Effects of light are only just beginning to be tapped into, and already are displaying some intriguing and promising results.

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

Another study with very positive results in seniors with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light that has a blue color, which is believed to help normalize the body’s circadian rhythm - bringing about better sleeping patterns. Dr. Guerman Ermolenko, a geriatric psychiatrist, and Mariana Figueiro from the Lighting Research Center at New York's Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, tested the effect of blue light exposure during the daytime on a few patients with Alzheimer's disease who were not able to sleep through the night. In both cases, the seniors were once again able to sleep through the night.

Fascinatingly, the reasoning behind these outcomes comes from the concept that the blue light mimics the blue sky, nudging our circadian rhythm to be in wake-up mode, and that it could also increase our levels of melatonin in the evening - leading to more wakefulness in the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.

Something to be aware of: some Alzheimer’s patients have become over-stimulated by being exposed to blue light. It’s important to carefully observe seniors’ reactions, and increase yellow light accordingly in the event that unwanted side effects are noticed.

At Independence-4-Seniors Home Care of Hinsdale, we’re supporting individuals with dementia, as well as the families who care for them, with a selection of individualized services to enhance wellbeing. Our specially trained, patient and caring care providers offer families the ability to have a much needed break, knowing their senior loved one is well cared for. We strive to ensure seniors are safe and living life to their highest potential at all times. Contact us at (630) 323-4665Top of FormBottom of Form to learn more about emerging Alzheimer’s and dementia treatments and how our Alzheimer’s home care services can help those with dementia live better lives at home.

Posted February 09, 2017
Tags: Alzheimer's - Dementia

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