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 starting to be tapped into, and already are displaying some intriguing and encouraging results for new forms of Alzheimer’s treatment.
For instance, MIT researchers are testing a type of flickering light therapy, in which the visual cortex of mice is showing a temporary reduction of beta amyloid plaques. Although there’s no indication yet about how exactly this may correlate to human studies, it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on.
Another study having quite positive results in seniors with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light having a blue tint, that’s thought to help normalize the body’s circadian rhythm – resulting in 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. Interestingly, the thinking behind these effects comes from the theory that the bluish light imitates the blue sky, encouraging 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 during the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.
A word of warning: some Alzheimer’s patients have become over-stimulated by being exposed to blue light. It’s necessary to carefully monitor seniors’ responses, and increase yellow light as necessary if negative effects are noticed.
At Cascade Companion Care in Arlington, WA, we’re aiding those in need of Alzheimer’s treatment and help, as well as the families who take care of them, with a selection of personalized services to enhance wellbeing. Our specially trained, patient and thoughtful caregivers offer family caregivers the ability to have a much needed break, knowing their older loved one is well cared for. We work hard to make sure aging adults are safe and living life to their highest potential at all times. Contact us at 425-361-0044 to learn more.