A new meta-analysis involving 598 patients with Alzheimer’s disease found improvements in night-time rest efficiency and reduced agitation
There light therapy would lead to significant improvements in sleep and in psycho-behavioral symptoms in patients with Alzheimer’s disease
. This is stated by a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE and coordinated by Qinghui Meng of Weifang Medical University, China.
How phototherapy works
Cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer’s disease often accompanied by sleep disorders And psycho-behavioral symptoms including apathetic and depressive behavior, agitation and aggression. Phototherapy is a non-pharmacological approach that uses light energy to stimulate the suprachiasmic nucleus (SCN), a sleep modulator in the brain located in the hypothalamus. How does phototherapy work? A special lamp is required, a medical device, capable of illuminating a subject at 10,000 lux. Upon awakening, the patient must be exposed to light for about half an hour. The light, similar to that of the sun but not dangerous, is received by some receptors in the retina that regulate the circadian rhythms
thus improving mood, sleep and depression.
Stability of night rest
To date, light therapy has not been widely studied in relation to Alzheimer’s disease and no systematic evaluation of its efficacy and safety was available. Now this new study the researchers analyzed 15 works on the topic carried out between 2005 and 2022 from seven different countries which included a total of 598 patients.
The meta-analysis of all fifteen studies found that light therapy has significantly improved sleep efficiencyincreased the stability of night rest and reduced the frequency with which the patient transitions from rest to daytime activities. In patients with Alzheimer’s disease, light therapy also has relieved depression and reduced patient agitation and, consequently, the caregiver’s burden.
Given the limited sample size in the studies included in this meta-analysis, the authors argue for the need for larger future studies, which may also potentially clarify whether exposure to bright light can cause adverse effects in patients. However, the researchers concluded that light therapy appears to be a promising therapy for alleviating some symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
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December 9, 2023 (modified December 9, 2023 | 09:11)
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