Scientists are shedding some new light on methods to potentially impact Alzheimer’s disease: light therapy. The benefits of light are only just beginning to be tapped into, and already are demonstrating some intriguing and encouraging results.
For example, MIT analysts are assessing a variety of flickering light therapy, in which the visual cortex of mice is exhibiting a short-term reduction of beta amyloid plaques. And although there’s no indication as of yet about how exactly this will correlate to human studies, this is most certainly worth keeping an eye on.
An additional study with quite positive results in seniors with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light that has a blueish tint, that is believed to help normalize the body’s circadian rhythm – bringing about better sleeping patterns. Geriatric psychiatrist Dr. Guerman Ermolenko and Mariana Figueiro, of the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in NY, tested the effects on two patients with Alzheimer’s who were unable to sleep through the night by exposing them to blue light during the day. In both cases, the seniors were once again able to sleep through the night.
Fascinatingly, the reasoning behind these effects stems from the notion that the blue light mimics the blue sky, causing our circadian rhythm to be in wake-up mode, and that it could also increase our levels of melatonin in the evening – contributing to more wakefulness in the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.
A word of warning: some Alzheimer’s patients have become over-stimulated by exposure to blue light. It is important to properly keep an eye on seniors’ reactions, and increase yellow light as necessary in the event that unwanted side effects are noticed.
At Atlanta Home Care Partners, we’re helping individuals with Alzheimer’s, along with the family members who take care of them, with a selection of individualized dementia care services to enhance wellbeing. Our specially trained, patient and thoughtful caregivers offer family the ability 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 highest potential at all times. Contact us at (404) 228-0103 to learn more about dementia home care options.