Research scientists are shedding some new light on strategies to potentially have an impact on Alzheimer’s disease: light therapy. The benefits of light are only just beginning to be tapped into, and already are showing some intriguing and promising results between sleep and Alzheimer’s.
A study with really good results in seniors with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light that has a blue tint, that’s believed to help control the body’s circadian rhythm – resulting in 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. In both cases, the seniors were once again able to sleep through the night.
Strangely enough, the thinking behind these outcomes comes from the theory that the blue light imitates the blue sky, causing our circadian rhythm to be in wake-up mode, and that it may also increase our levels of melatonin during the evening – leading to more wakefulness throughout the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.
Something to be aware of: some Alzheimer’s patients have become over-stimulated by exposure to blue light. It’s critical to attentively keep an eye on seniors’ reactions, and increase yellow light appropriately when negative effects are noticed.
In another study of light and Alzheimer’s, MIT analysts are experimenting with a type of flickering light therapy, in which the visual cortex of mice is showing a short-term decrease in beta amyloid plaques. And although there’s no indication as of yet about how exactly this will correlate to human studies, this is most certainly worth keeping an eye on.
At Regency Home Care in Atlanta, GA, we’re helping those with Alzheimer’s, along with the families who take care of them, with a variety of individualized services to improve wellbeing. Our specially trained, patient and compassionate 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 make certain aging adults are safe and living life to their highest potential at all times. Contact us at 678.999.2446 to learn more.