Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bright Light Improves Dementia Symptoms and Depression

Bright Light Improves Dementia Symptoms: WebMD
"Turning up the lights during the daytime may boost mood and improve behavior in elderly adults with dementia...Environmental light affects the body's 24-hour biological clock, also known as the circadian rhythm. Too little light exposure can throw off the sensitive balance of the circadian timing system. Disturbances in circadian rhythm can lead to sleep woes. A hormone called melatonin also plays an important role in the maintaining the system's circadian rhythm...

The researchers learned that bright light resulted in a modest improvement in dementia symptoms. Specifically, the use of bright daytime lighting:

  • Reduced cognitive scores on a mental status exam by a relative 5%.
  • Cut depression symptoms by a relative 19%.
  • Calmed slow increases in functional limitations by slightly more than half (53%).

Adding melatonin helped patients fall asleep about eight minutes faster and sleep longer by 27 minutes. The researchers recommend melatonin supplements only in combination with light. Melatonin combined with brighter lighting cut agitated behavior by 9%..."

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