Light Abstracts 2

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Light exposure, melatonin secretion, and menstrual cycle parameters: an integrative review.
            (Barron, 2007) Download
Dysfunction in menstrual physiology has pronounced effects on quality of life, involving mood changes, body image, infertility, and pregnancy complications. Light exposure may affect menstrual cycles and symptoms through the influence of melatonin secretion. The purpose of this systematic review is to determine the current state of knowledge about the effects of light and melatonin secretion on menstrual phase and cycle alterations. A brief overview of the influence of melatonin on human physiology is included. There is evidence of a relationship between light exposure and melatonin secretion and irregular menstrual cycles, menstrual cycle symptoms, and disordered ovarian function. In women with a psychopathology such as bipolar disorder or an endocrinopathy such as polycystic ovary syndrome, there seems to be greater vulnerability to the influence of light-dark exposure. Research on the complex role of light-dark exposure in menstrual physiology has implications for treatment of menstrual-associated disorders.

Light therapy as a treatment for epilepsy.
            (Baxendale, 2011) Download
From a neurobiological level to epidemiological studies, there are four strands of evidence in the scientific literature that indicate that light therapy could be an effective treatment for some people with epilepsy. (1) Sunlight is important in the endogenous production and regulation of melatonin and vitamin D, both of which influence seizure thresholds. Although melatonin influences seizure thresholds, the relationship is complex. General down-regulating effects may have different effects on seizure thresholds for people with generalised and partial epilepsy syndromes. Specific actions within the hippocampus may mean that patients with temporal lobe epilepsy are particularly susceptible to the endogenous expression of melatonin via inhibitory actions on dopaminergic activity reducing seizure thresholds. (2) If suppression of melatonin results in fewer seizures this should be evident in seasonal variations in seizure frequencies. Seizure frequencies increase in the winter and on dull overcast days. Within this larger circannual rhythm, local light conditions are also associated with variations in seizure frequencies. Controlling for seasonal patterns, complex partial seizures are significantly less likely to occur on bright sunny days, than on dull days with fewer hours of sunshine, regardless of the time of year. (3) On a wider scale, some epidemiological studies also suggest a lower prevalence of epilepsy in southern Europe compared to Scandinavia and Northern Europe. (4) Light therapy is an established medical treatment for depression. Recent research suggests that some forms of epilepsy and depression are bi-directional conditions. The mechanism of action underlying light therapy for affective disorders remains the subject of much research but is thought to involve the enhancement of the monoaminergic systems targeted by antidepressant drugs (serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine); systems also implicated in a number of epilepsy syndromes. In this paper, we propose the hypothesis that exposure to high intensity light may be an effective, non-invasive add-on treatment for people with temporal lobe epilepsy. Although it is more likely to be palliative than curative, it may help smooth out some of the seasonal peaks in seizure frequencies, a pattern that increases the risk of serious manifestations of the condition such as status epilepticus and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy.

Treatment of vitamin D deficiency with UV light in patients with malabsorption syndromes: a case series.
            (Chandra et al., 2007) Download
BACKGROUND: Cystic fibrosis (CF) and short bowel syndrome (SBS) patients are unable to absorb vitamin D from the diet and thus are frequently found to be severely vitamin D deficient. We evaluated whether a commercial portable ultraviolet (UV) indoor tanning lamp that has a spectral output that mimics natural sunlight could raise circulating 25-hydroxyvitamin D [25(OH)D] levels in subjects with CF and SBS. METHODS: In initial pilot studies, two SBS subjects came to the outpatient clinic twice weekly for 8 weeks for UV light sessions of 6 min each. In a follow-up study, five CF subjects exposed their lower backs in a seated position to the sunlamp at a distance of 14 cm for 5-10 min depending on the skin type five times a week for 8 weeks. Blood samples for 25(OH)D and parathyroid hormone (PTH) measurements were performed at baseline and at the end of the study. RESULTS: In our study, with two SBS subjects, the indoor lamp increased or maintained circulating 25(OH)D levels during the winter months. We increased the UV lamp frequency and found an improved response in the CF patients. Serum 25(OH)D levels in CF subjects at baseline were 21 +/- 3 ng/ml, which increased to 27 +/- 4 ng/ml at the end of 8 weeks (P=0.05). PTH concentration remained largely unchanged in both population groups. CONCLUSION: A UV lamp that emits ultraviolet radiation similar to sunlight and thus produces vitamin D(3) in the skin is an excellent alternative for CF, and SBS patients who suffer from vitamin D deficiency due to fat malabsorption, especially during the winter months when natural sunlight is unable to produce vitamin D3 in the skin. This UV lamp is widely available for commercial home use and could potentially be prescribed to patients with CF or SBS.

 

Light-induced changes of the circadian clock of humans: increasing duration is more effective than increasing light intensity.
            (Dewan et al., 2011) Download
STUDY OBJECTIVES: To evaluate the effect of increasing the intensity and/or duration of exposure on light-induced changes in the timing of the circadian clock of humans. DESIGN: Multifactorial randomized controlled trial, between and within subject design SETTING: General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) of an academic medical center PARTICIPANTS: 56 healthy young subjects (20-40 years of age) INTERVENTIONS: Research subjects were admitted for 2 independent stays of 4 nights/3 days for treatment with bright or dim-light (randomized order) at a time known to induce phase delays in circadian timing. The intensity and duration of the bright light were determined by random assignment to one of 9 treatment conditions (duration of 1, 2, or 3 hours at 2000, 4000, or 8000 lux). MEASUREMENTS AND RESULTS: Treatment-induced changes in the dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) and dim light melatonin offset (DLMOff) were measured from blood samples collected every 20-30 min throughout baseline and post-treatment nights. Comparison by multi-factor analysis of variance (ANOVA) of light-induced changes in the time of the circadian melatonin rhythm for the 9 conditions revealed that changing the duration of the light exposure from 1 to 3 h increased the magnitude of light-induced delays. In contrast, increasing from moderate (2,000 lux) to high (8,000 lux) intensity light did not alter the magnitude of phase delays of the circadian melatonin rhythm. CONCLUSIONS: Results from the present study suggest that for phototherapy of circadian rhythm sleep disorders in humans, a longer period of moderate intensity light may be more effective than a shorter exposure period of high intensity light.

Melatonin and bright-light treatment for rest-activity disruption in institutionalized patients with Alzheimer's disease.
            (Dowling et al., 2008) Download
OBJECTIVES: To test whether the addition of melatonin to bright-light therapy enhances the efficacy in treating rest-activity (circadian) disruption in institutionalized patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD). DESIGN: Randomized, controlled trial. SETTING: Two nursing homes in San Francisco, California. PARTICIPANTS: Fifty subjects (mean age 86) with AD. INTERVENTION: Experimental subjects received 1 hour of morning light exposure (> or = 2,500 lux in gaze direction) Monday to Friday for 10 weeks and 5 mg melatonin (LM, n=16) or placebo (LP, n=17) in the evening. Control subjects (n=17) received usual indoor light (150-200 lux). MEASUREMENTS: Nighttime sleep variables, day sleep time, day activity, day:night sleep ratio, and rest-activity parameters were determined using actigraphy. RESULTS: Linear mixed models were employed to test the primary study hypotheses. No significant differences in nighttime sleep variables were found between groups. At the end of the intervention, the LM group showed significant improvement in daytime somnolence as indicated by a reduction in the duration of daytime sleep, an increase in daytime activity, and an improvement in day:night sleep ratio. The LM group also evidenced a significant increase in rest-activity rhythm amplitude and goodness of fit to the cosinor model. CONCLUSION: Light treatment alone did not improve nighttime sleep, daytime wake, or rest-activity rhythm. Light treatment plus melatonin increased daytime wake time and activity levels and strengthened the rest-activity rhythm. Future studies should resolve the question of whether these improvements can be attributed to melatonin or whether the two zeitgebers interact to amplify efficacy.

Implications of controlled short-wavelength light exposure for sleep in older adults.
            (Figueiro et al., 2011) Download
BACKGROUND: Environmental and physiological conditions make older adults more likely to lose synchronization to their local time and experience sleep disturbances. A regular, 24-hour light/dark cycle promotes synchronization. It is now well established that the circadian system is maximally sensitive to short-wavelength (blue) light. The purpose of the present study was to measure dose effectiveness (amounts and durations) of short-wavelength (blue) light for stimulating the circadian systems of older adults. We investigated the impact of six corneal irradiances (0.7 to 72 muW/cm2) of 470-nm light on nocturnal melatonin production. Nine participants, each over 50 years of age completed a within-subjects study. Each week, participants were exposed to one of the six irradiances of 470-nm light for 90 minutes. FINDINGS: A two-factor (6 corneal irradiances x 10 exposure durations), within-subjects analysis of variance (ANOVA) was conducted using the melatonin suppression levels. The ANOVA revealed a significant main effect of corneal irradiance (F5, 30 = 9.131, p < 0.0001), a significant main effect of exposure duration (F9, 54 = 5.731, p < 0.0001), and a significant interaction between these two variables (F45,270 = 1.927, p < 0.001). Post hoc t-tests revealed that corneal irradiances as low as 2 muW/cm2 reliably suppressed melatonin after 90-minute exposure whereas 0.7 muW/cm2 did not. CONCLUSIONS: Sleep disorders are common and a serious problem for millions of older adults. The present results showed that comfortable, precise and effective doses of light can be prescribed to older adults to reliably stimulate the circadian system that presumably would promote entrainment and, thus, regular sleep. Field studies on the impact of short-wavelength-light doses on sleep efficiency in older adults should be performed.

 

Light therapy for managing cognitive, sleep, functional, behavioural, or psychiatric disturbances in dementia.
            (Forbes et al., 2009) Download
BACKGROUND: Rest-activity and sleep-wake cycles are controlled by the endogenous circadian rhythm generated by the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) of the hypothalamus. Degenerative changes in the SCN appear to be a biological basis for circadian disturbances in people with dementia, and might be reversed by stimulation of the SCN by light. OBJECTIVES: The review assesses the evidence of effectiveness of light therapy in managing cognitive, sleep, functional, behavioural, or psychiatric disturbances associated with dementia. SEARCH STRATEGY: The Specialized Register of the Cochrane Dementia and Cognitive Improvement Group (CDCIG), The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL and LILACS were searched on 4 March 2008 using the terms: "bright light*", "light box*", "light visor*", "dawn-dusk*", phototherapy, "photo therapy", "light therapy" "light treatment", light* . The CDCIG Specialized Register contains records from all major health care databases (The Cochrane Library, MEDLINE, EMBASE, PsycINFO, CINAHL, LILACS) as well as from many trials databases and grey literature sources. SELECTION CRITERIA: All relevant, randomized clinical trials in which light therapy, at any intensity and duration, was compared with a control group for the effect on managing cognition, sleep, function, behavioural, or psychiatric disturbances (as well as changes in institutionalization rates or cost of care) in people with dementia of any type and degree of severity. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Three reviewers independently assessed the retrieved articles for relevance and methodological quality, and extracted data from the selected studies. Statistically significant differences in outcomes between the treatment and control groups at end of treatment and follow-up were examined. Each study was summarized using a measure of effect (e.g. mean difference). MAIN RESULTS: Eight trials met the inclusion criteria. However, three of the studies could not be included in the analyses because of inappropriate reported study analyses or inability to retrieve the required data from the investigators. This review revealed no adequate evidence of the effectiveness of light therapy in managing cognition, sleep, function, behaviour, or psychiatric disturbances associated with dementia. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: There is insufficient evidence to assess the value of light therapy for people with dementia. Most of the available studies are not of high methodological quality and further research is required.


 

Low doses of lithium carbonate reduce melatonin light sensitivity in healthy volunteers.
            (Hallam et al., 2005) Download
Sensitivity of the pineal hormone melatonin to bright light at night has been posited as a putative marker of affective disorders. Research demonstrates melatonin supersensitivity to light in bipolar disorder, however the role that lithium carbonate plays in this response is unclear. This study assessed the effect of lithium on nocturnal melatonin secretion and sensitivity to light in healthy adults. Ten participants, tested on two nights, had blood samples drawn between 20:00 and 02:30 hours. On testing nights participants were exposed to 200 lux of light between 24:00 and 01:00 hours. Participants took 250 mg of lithium daily for 5 d between testing nights. The results indicated that lithium had a significant effect on sensitivity to light but not on overall melatonin synthesis. This finding has implications on the true magnitude of the melatonin light response in people with bipolar disorder and may elucidate possible mechanisms of action of lithium.

Light activates the adrenal gland: timing of gene expression and glucocorticoid release.
            (Ishida et al., 2005) Download
Light is a powerful synchronizer of the circadian rhythms, and bright light therapy is known to improve metabolic and hormonal status of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, although its mechanism is poorly understood. In the present study, we revealed that light induces gene expression in the adrenal gland via the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN)-sympathetic nervous system. Moreover, this gene expression accompanies the surge of plasma and brain corticosterone levels without accompanying activation of the hypothalamo-adenohypophysial axis. The abolishment after SCN lesioning, and the day-night difference of light-induced adrenal gene expression and corticosterone release, clearly indicate that this phenomenon is closely linked to the circadian clock. The magnitude of corticostereone response is dose dependently correlated with the light intensity. The light-induced clock-dependent secretion of glucocorticoids adjusts cellular metabolisms to the new light-on environment.

Circadian rhythm dysfunction in glaucoma: A hypothesis.
            (Jean-Louis et al., 2008) Download
The absence of circadian zeitgebers in the social environment causes circadian misalignment, which is often associated with sleep disturbances. Circadian misalignment, defined as a mismatch between the sleep-wake cycle and the timing of the circadian system, can occur either because of inadequate exposure to the light-dark cycle, the most important synchronizer of the circadian system, or reduction in light transmission resulting from ophthalmic diseases (e.g., senile miosis, cataract, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, and glaucoma). We propose that glaucoma may be the primary ocular disease that directly compromises photic input to the circadian time-keeping system because of inherent ganglion cell death. Glaucomatous damage to the ganglion cell layer might be particularly harmful to melanopsin. According to histologic and circadian data, a subset of intrinsically photoresponsive retinal ganglion cells, expressing melanopsin and cryptochromes, entrain the endogenous circadian system via transduction of photic input to the thalamus, projecting either to the suprachiasmatic nucleus or the lateral geniculate nucleus. Glaucoma provides a unique opportunity to explore whether in fact light transmission to the circadian system is compromised as a result of ganglion cell loss.

Phototherapy with blue (415 nm) and red (660 nm) light in the treatment of acne vulgaris.
            (Papageorgiou et al., 2000) Download
In this study we have evaluated the use of blue light (peak at 415 nm) and a mixed blue and red light (peaks at 415 and 660 nm) in the treatment of acne vulgaris. One hundred and seven patients with mild to moderate acne vulgaris were randomized into four treatment groups: blue light, mixed blue and red light, cool white light and 5% benzoyl peroxide cream. Subjects in the phototherapy groups used portable light sources and irradiation was carried out daily for 15 min. Comparative assessment between the three light sources was made in an observer-blinded fashion, but this could not be achieved for the use of benzoyl peroxide. Assessments were performed every 4 weeks. After 12 weeks of active treatment a mean improvement of 76% (95% confidence interval 66-87) in inflammatory lesions was achieved by the combined blue-red light phototherapy; this was significantly superior to that achieved by blue light (at weeks 4 and 8 but not week 12), benzoyl peroxide (at weeks 8 and 12) or white light (at each assessment). The final mean improvement in comedones by using blue-red light was 58% (95% confidence interval 45-71), again better than that achieved by the other active treatments used, although the differences did not reach significant levels. We have found that phototherapy with mixed blue-red light, probably by combining antibacterial and anti-inflammatory action, is an effective means of treating acne vulgaris of mild to moderate severity, with no significant short-term adverse effects.


 

Increased sensitivity to light-induced melatonin suppression in premenstrual dysphoric disorder.
            (Parry et al., 2010) Download
Increased sensitivity to light-induced melatonin suppression characterizes some, but not all, patients with bipolar illness or seasonal affective disorder. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that patients with premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD), categorized as a depressive disorder in Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV), have altered sensitivity to 200 lux light during mid-follicular (MF) and late-luteal (LL) menstrual cycle phases compared with normal control (NC) women. As an extension of a pilot study in which the authors administered 500 lux to 8 PMDD and 5 NC subjects, in the present study the authors administered 200 lux to 10 PMDD and 13 NC subjects during MF and LL menstrual cycle phases. Subjects were admitted to the General Clinical Research Center (GCRC) in dim light (<50 lux) to dark (during sleep) conditions at 16:00 h where nurses inserted an intravenous catheter at 17:00 h and collected plasma samples for melatonin at 30-min intervals from 18:00 to 10:00 h, including between 00:00 and 01:00 h for baseline values, between 01:30 and 03:00 h during the 200 lux light exposure administered from 01:00 to 03:00 h, and at 03:30 and 04:00 h after the light exposure. Median % melatonin suppression was significantly greater in PMDD (30.8%) versus NC (-0.2%) women (p = .040), and was significantly greater in PMDD in the MF (30.8%) than in the LL (-0.15%) phase (p = .047). Additionally, in the LL (but not the MF) phase, % suppression after 200 lux light was significantly positively correlated with serum estradiol level (p = .007) in PMDD patients, but not in NC subjects (p > .05).

Bright light therapy in Parkinson's disease: a pilot study.
            (Paus et al., 2007) Download
Several observations suggest a beneficial effect of melatonin antagonism for Parkinson's disease (PD). Although bright light therapy (BLT) suppresses melatonin release and is an established treatment for depression and sleep disturbances, it has not been evaluated in PD. We examined effects of BLT on motor symptoms, depression, and sleep in PD in a randomized placebo-controlled double-blind study in 36 PD patients, using Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale (UPDRS) I-IV, Beck's Depression Inventory, and Epworth Sleepiness Scale. All patients received BLT for 15 days in the morning, 30 min daily. Illuminance was 7.500 lux in the active treatment group and 950 lux in the placebo group. Although group differences were small, BLT led to significant improvement of tremor, UPDRS I, II, and IV, and depression in the active treatment group but not in the placebo group. It was very well tolerated. Follow up studies in more advanced patient populations employing longer treatment durations are warranted.

Dark therapy for bipolar disorder using amber lenses for blue light blockade.
            (Phelps, 2008) Download
"Dark Therapy", in which complete darkness is used as a mood stabilizer in bipolar disorder, roughly the converse of light therapy for depression, has support in several preliminary studies. Although data are limited, darkness itself appears to organize and stabilize circadian rhythms. Yet insuring complete darkness from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. the following morning, as used in several studies thus far, is highly impractical and not accepted by patients. However, recent data on the physiology of human circadian rhythm suggests that "virtual darkness" may be achievable by blocking blue wavelengths of light. A recently discovered retinal photoreceptor, whose fibers connect only to the biological clock region of the hypothalamus, has been shown to respond only to a narrow band of wavelengths around 450 nm. Amber-tinted safety glasses, which block transmission of these wavelengths, have already been shown to preserve normal nocturnal melatonin levels in a light environment which otherwise completely suppresses melatonin production. Therefore it may be possible to influence human circadian rhythms by using these lenses at night to blunt the impact of electrical light, particularly the blue light of ubiquitous television screens, by creating a "virtual darkness". One way to investigate this would be to provide the lenses to patients with severe sleep disturbance of probable circadian origin. A preliminary case series herein demonstrates that some patients with bipolar disorder experience reduced sleep-onset latency with this approach, suggesting a circadian effect. If amber lenses can effectively simulate darkness, a broad range of conditions might respond to this inexpensive therapeutic tool: common forms of insomnia; sleep deprivation in nursing mothers; circadian rhythm disruption in shift workers; and perhaps even rapid cycling bipolar disorder, a difficult- to -treat variation of a common illness.

Effect of bright light and melatonin on cognitive and noncognitive function in elderly residents of group care facilities: a randomized controlled trial.
            (Riemersma-van der Lek et al., 2008) Download
CONTEXT: Cognitive decline, mood, behavioral and sleep disturbances, and limitations of activities of daily living commonly burden elderly patients with dementia and their caregivers. Circadian rhythm disturbances have been associated with these symptoms. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the progression of cognitive and noncognitive symptoms may be ameliorated by individual or combined long-term application of the 2 major synchronizers of the circadian timing system: bright light and melatonin. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: A long-term, double-blind, placebo-controlled, 2 x 2 factorial randomized trial performed from 1999 to 2004 with 189 residents of 12 group care facilities in the Netherlands; mean (SD) age, 85.8 (5.5) years; 90% were female and 87% had dementia. INTERVENTIONS: Random assignment by facility to long-term daily treatment with whole-day bright (+/- 1000 lux) or dim (+/- 300 lux) light and by participant to evening melatonin (2.5 mg) or placebo for a mean (SD) of 15 (12) months (maximum period of 3.5 years). MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Standardized scales for cognitive and noncognitive symptoms, limitations of activities of daily living, and adverse effects assessed every 6 months. RESULTS: Light attenuated cognitive deterioration by a mean of 0.9 points (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.04-1.71) on the Mini-Mental State Examination or a relative 5%. Light also ameliorated depressive symptoms by 1.5 points (95% CI, 0.24-2.70) on the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia or a relative 19%, and attenuated the increase in functional limitations over time by 1.8 points per year (95% CI, 0.61-2.92) on the nurse-informant activities of daily living scale or a relative 53% difference. Melatonin shortened sleep onset latency by 8.2 minutes (95% CI, 1.08-15.38) or 19% and increased sleep duration by 27 minutes (95% CI, 9-46) or 6%. However, melatonin adversely affected scores on the Philadelphia Geriatric Centre Affect Rating Scale, both for positive affect (-0.5 points; 95% CI, -0.10 to -1.00) and negative affect (0.8 points; 95% CI, 0.20-1.44). Melatonin also increased withdrawn behavior by 1.02 points (95% CI, 0.18-1.86) on the Multi Observational Scale for Elderly Subjects scale, although this effect was not seen if given in combination with light. Combined treatment also attenuated aggressive behavior by 3.9 points (95% CI, 0.88-6.92) on the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Index or 9%, increased sleep efficiency by 3.5% (95% CI, 0.8%-6.1%), and improved nocturnal restlessness by 1.00 minute per hour each year (95% CI, 0.26-1.78) or 9% (treatment x time effect). CONCLUSIONS: Light has a modest benefit in improving some cognitive and noncognitive symptoms of dementia. To counteract the adverse effect of melatonin on mood, it is recommended only in combination with light. TRIAL REGISTRATION: controlled-trials.com/isrctn Identifier: ISRCTN93133646.

Wearing blue-blockers in the morning could improve sleep of workers on a permanent night schedule: a pilot study.
            (Sasseville et al., 2009) Download
Night shiftworkers often complain of disturbed sleep during the day. This could be partly caused by morning sunlight exposure during the commute home, which tends to maintain the circadian clock on a daytime rhythm. The circadian clock is most sensitive to the blue portion of the visible spectrum, so our aim was to determine if blocking short wavelengths of light below 540 nm could improve daytime sleep quality and nighttime vigilance of night shiftworkers. Eight permanent night shiftworkers (32-56 yrs of age) of Quebec City's Canada Post distribution center were evaluated during summertime, and twenty others (24-55 yrs of age) during fall and winter. Timing, efficacy, and fragmentation of daytime sleep were analyzed over four weeks by a wrist activity monitor, and subjective vigilance was additionally assessed at the end of the night shift in the fall-winter group. The first two weeks served as baseline and the remaining two as experimental weeks when workers had to wear blue-blockers glasses, either just before leaving the workplace at the end of their shift (summer group) or 2 h before the end of the night shift (fall-winter group). They all had to wear the glasses when outside during the day until 16:00 h. When wearing the glasses, workers slept, on average +/-SD, 32+/-29 and 34+/-60 more min/day, increased their sleep efficacy by 1.95+/-2.17% and 4.56+/-6.1%, and lowered their sleep fragmentation by 1.74+/-1.36% and 4.22+/-9.16% in the summer and fall-winter group, respectively. Subjective vigilance also generally improved on Fridays in the fall-winter group. Blue-blockers seem to improve daytime sleep of permanent night-shift workers.

Effects of an advanced sleep schedule and morning short wavelength light exposure on circadian phase in young adults with late sleep schedules.
            (Sharkey et al., 2011) Download
OBJECTIVE: We examined the effects of an advanced sleep/wake schedule and morning short wavelength (blue) light in 25 adults (mean age+/-SD=21.8+/-3 years; 13 women) with late sleep schedules and subclinical features of delayed sleep phase disorder (DSPD). METHODS: After a baseline week, participants kept individualized, fixed, advanced 7.5-h sleep schedules for 6days. Participants were randomly assigned to groups to receive "blue" (470nm, approximately 225lux, n=12) or "dim" (<1lux, n=13) light for 1h after waking each day. Head-worn "Daysimeters" measured light exposure; actigraphs and sleep diaries confirmed schedule compliance. Salivary dim light melatonin onset (DLMO), self-reported sleep, and mood were examined with 2x2 ANOVA. RESULTS: After 6days, both groups showed significant circadian phase advances, but morning blue light was not associated with larger phase shifts than dim-light exposure. The average DLMO advances (mean+/-SD) were 1.5+/-1.1h in the dim light group and 1.4+/-0.7h in the blue light group. CONCLUSIONS: Adherence to a fixed advanced sleep/wake schedule resulted in significant circadian phase shifts in young adults with subclinical DSPD with or without morning blue light exposure. Light/dark exposures associated with fixed early sleep schedules are sufficient to advance circadian phase in young adults.

Illuminating rationale and uses for light therapy.
            (Shirani and St Louis, 2009) Download
Light therapy is increasingly applied in a variety of sleep medicine and psychiatric conditions including circadian rhythm sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder, and dementia. This article reviews the neural underpinnings of circadian neurobiology crucial for understanding the influence of light therapy on brain function, common mood and sleep disorders in which light therapy may be effectively used, and applications of light therapy in clinical practice.

Seasonal affective disorder and season-dependent abnormalities of melatonin suppression by light.
            (Thompson et al., 1990) Download
Twelve patients with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and eleven normal controls were exposed to 2000 lux and 300 lux of artificial full-spectrum light on consecutive nights during the winter. Suppression of melatonin secretion under the two light intensities was measured and the difference between their effects was taken as a measure of light sensitivity. The test was repeated in summer in both groups, when the SAD subjects were well. The SAD but not the normal group showed a significant seasonal variation in sensitivity to light. There was evidence of supersensitivity in the winter but also of subsensitivity to light in the summer.

Light therapy for non-seasonal depression.
            (Tuunainen et al., 2004) Download
BACKGROUND: Efficacy of light therapy for non-seasonal depression has been studied without any consensus on its efficacy. OBJECTIVES: To evaluate clinical effects of bright light therapy in comparison to the inactive placebo treatment for non-seasonal depression. SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched the Depression Anxiety & Neurosis Controlled Trials register (CCDANCTR January 2003), comprising the results of searches of Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials (CENTRAL), MEDLINE (1966 -), EMBASE (1980 -), CINAHL (1982 -), LILACS (1982 -), National Research Register, PsycINFO/PsycLIT (1974 -), PSYNDEX (1977 -), and SIGLE (1982 - ) using the group search strategy and the following terms: #30 = phototherapy or ("light therapy" or light-therapy). We also sought trials from conference proceedings and references of included papers, and contacted the first author of each study as well as leading researchers in the field. SELECTION CRITERIA: Randomized controlled trials comparing bright light with inactive placebo treatments for non-seasonal depression. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Data were extracted and quality assessment was made independently by two reviewers. The authors were contacted to obtain additional information. MAIN RESULTS: Twenty studies (49 reports) were included in the review. Most of the studies applied bright light as adjunctive treatment to drug therapy, sleep deprivation, or both. In general, the quality of reporting was poor, and many reviews did not report adverse effects systematically. The treatment response in the bright light group was better than in the control treatment group, but did not reach statistical significance. The result was mainly based on studies of less than 8 days of treatment. The response to bright light was significantly better than to control treatment in high-quality studies (standardized mean difference (SMD) -0.90, 95% confidence interval (CI) -1.50 to -0.31), in studies applying morning light treatment (SMD -0.38, CI -0.62 to -0.14), and in sleep deprivation responders (SMD -1.02, CI -1.60 to -0.45). Hypomania was more common in the bright light group compared to the control treatment group (risk ratio 4.91, CI 1.66 to 14.46, number needed to harm 8, CI 5 to 20). Twenty studies (49 reports) were included in the review. Most of the studies applied bright light as adjunctive treatment to drug therapy, sleep deprivation, or both. Treatment REVIEWERS' CONCLUSIONS: For patients suffering from non-seasonal depression, bright light therapy offers modest though promising antidepressive efficacy, especially when administered during the first week of treatment, in the morning, and as an adjunctive treatment to sleep deprivation responders. Hypomania as a potential adverse effect needs to be considered. Due to limited data and heterogeneity of studies these results need to be interpreted with caution.

Primary and secondary features of Parkinson's disease improve with strategic exposure to bright light: a case series study.
            (Willis and Turner, 2007) Download
The antagonism of melatonin in models of Parkinson's disease (PD) can reduce the severity of motor impairment associated with dopamine (DA) degeneration. In consideration of the potent antidepressant effects of bright light therapy (LT), that LT suppresses melatonin secretion, that depression is commonly observed in PD, and that exposure to constant light facilitates recovery from experimental PD, the object of the present study was to strategically administer LT to PD patients and observe the effects on depression, insomnia, and motor performance. Twelve patients diagnosed with PD were exposed to white fluorescent light for 1-1.5 h at an intensity of 1000 to 1500 lux once daily commencing 1 h prior to the usual time of sleep onset, approximately 22:00 h in most patients. All patients were assessed before LT commenced and at two weeks, five weeks, and regular intervals thereafter. Within two weeks after commencing LT, marked improvement in bradykinaesia and rigidity was observed in most patients. Tremor was not affected by LT treatment; however, agitation, dyskinaesia, and psychiatric side effects were reduced, as verified by decreased requirement for DA replacement therapy. Elevated mood, improved sleep, decreased seborrhea, reduced impotence, and increased appetite were observed after LT. LT permitted the reduction of the dose of L-dopa, bromocriptine, or deprenyl in some patients by up to 50% without loss of symptom control. Factors limiting the efficacy of LT included multiple disease states, treatment compliance, polypharmacy, emotional stress, advanced age, and predominance of positive symptoms. The results of this case series study confirms previous work describing light as efficacious in the treatment of PD and suggest that controlled trials may help to elucidate how LT might be used strategically as an adjunct therapy to improve the morbidity of PD patients.

Differential effects of light wavelength in phase advancing the melatonin rhythm.
            (Wright et al., 2004) Download
Shorter wavelength light has been shown to be more effective than longer wavelengths in suppressing nocturnal melatonin and phase delaying the melatonin rhythm. In the present study, different wavelengths of light were evaluated for their capacity to phase advance the saliva melatonin rhythm. Two long wavelengths, 595 nm (amber) and 660 nm (red) and three shorter wavelengths, 470 nm (blue), 497 nm (blue/green), and 525 nm (green) were compared with a no-light control condition. Light was administered via a portable light source comprising two light-emitting diodes per eye, with the irradiance of each diode set at 65 microW/cm(2). Forty-two volunteers participated in up to six conditions resulting in 15 per condition. For the active light conditions, a 2-hr light pulse was administered from 06:00 hr on two consecutive mornings. Half-hourly saliva samples were collected on the evening prior to the first light pulse and the evening following the second light pulse. The time of melatonin onset was calculated for each night and the difference was calculated as a measure of phase advance. The shorter wavelengths of 470, 495 and 525 nm showed the greatest melatonin onset advances ranging from approximately 40-65 min while the longer wavelengths produced no significant phase advance. These results strengthen earlier findings that the human circadian system is more sensitive to the short wavelengths of light than the longer wavelengths.


 

References

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