Research scientists are shedding some new light on therapies to potentially have an impact on Alzheimer’s disease: light therapy. The benefits of light are only just beginning to be tapped, and already are exhibiting some notable and encouraging results.
One example is MIT analysts are experimenting with a variety of flickering light therapy, in which the visual cortex of mice is showing a temporary reduction of beta amyloid plaques. And even though there’s no indication up to this point regarding how this could correlate to human studies, this is surely worth keeping an eye on.
A different study with really positive results in mature adults with Alzheimer’s is exposure to light which has a blueish color, that’s thought to help manage 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.
Strangely enough, the thinking behind these effects stems from the concept that the blue 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 through evening – causing more wakefulness throughout the daytime and a more restful night’s sleep.
Something to be aware of: some Alzheimer’s patients have become over-stimulated by exposure to blue light. It’s critical to attentively observe seniors’ reactions, and increase yellow light as necessary when negative effects are noticed.
At Midnight Sun Home Care of Anchorage, we’re aiding those with Alzheimer’s, as well as the families who take care of them, with a selection of individualized services to enhance quality of life such as our Anchorage respite care. Our specially trained, patient and thoughtful caregivers offer family caregivers the ability to take a much needed break, knowing their elderly loved one is well cared for. We work hard to make certain aging adults are safe and living life to their fullest potential at all times. Contact us at (907) 677-7890 to learn more.