New Alzheimer’s Disease Therapy with Light

Alzheimer's disease therapyScientists are shedding new light on treatment options to potentially have an effect on dementia: Alzheimer’s disease therapy through the use of light. Effects of light are only just starting to be tapped into, and already are displaying some intriguing and encouraging results.

For instance, MIT research scientists are assessing a form of flickering light therapy, in which the visual cortex of mice is exhibiting a short-term decrease in beta amyloid plaques. Although there’s no indication as of yet about how this may correlate to human studies, it is definitely worth keeping an eye on.

An additional study having very good results in older persons with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light having a blue color, that is thought to help control the body’s circadian rhythm – leading to 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. After the blue light therapy, each of the treated seniors was once again able to sleep through the night.

Oddly enough, the thinking behind these outcomes comes from the speculation 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 in the evening – leading to more wakefulness in the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.

A word of warning: a few Alzheimer’s patients may become over-stimulated by being exposed to blue light. It is necessary to properly keep an eye on seniors’ responses, and increase yellow light appropriately in the event that unwanted side effects are noticed.

At Home Sweet Home In-Home Care of St. Joseph, we’re supporting individuals with Alzheimer’s, and also the family members who take care of them, with a selection of customized services to enhance wellbeing. Our specially trained, patient care providers offer family members the chance to have a much needed break, knowing their older loved one is well cared for. We strive to ensure mature adults are safe and living life to their highest potential at all times. Contact us at 269-849-9252 to learn more.

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