Research scientists are shedding new light on treatments to potentially impact Alzheimer’s disease: light therapy. Effects of light are only just starting to be tapped into, and already are showing some notable and promising results.
For instance, MIT analysts 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. And although there’s no indication up to this point about how this may correlate to human studies, this is definitely worth keeping an eye on.
A different study having really positive results in seniors with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light having a blue color, that is believed to help regulate the body’s circadian rhythm – which results 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.
Interestingly, the reasoning behind these results stems from the speculation that the blue light mimics the blue sky, encouraging our circadian rhythm to be in wake-up mode, and that it may also increase our levels of melatonin in the evening – resulting in more wakefulness during the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.
Something to be aware of: a few Alzheimer’s patients may become over-stimulated by exposure to blue light. It’s important to properly keep an eye on seniors’ reactions, and increase yellow light appropriately in the event that negative effects are noticed.
At CareWorks Health Services, our Laguna Hills home care team is supporting individuals with Alzheimer’s disease, and the family members who care for them, with a variety of customized services to enhance quality of life. Our specially trained, patient and compassionate caregivers offer family members the opportunity to take a much needed break, knowing their elderly loved one is well cared for. We work hard to ensure aging adults are safe and living life to their fullest potential at all times. Contact us at (949) 859-4700 to learn more.