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Proceedings Paper

Spectral sensitivity of the circadian system
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Paper Abstract

Light exposure regulates several circadian functions in normal humans including the sleep-wake cycle. Individuals with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) often do not have regular patterns of activity and rest, but, rather, experience random periods of sleep and agitation during both day and night. Bright light during the day and darkness at night has been shown to consolidate activity periods during the day and rest periods at night in AD patients. The important characteristics of bright light exposure (quantity, spectrum, distribution, timing and duration) for achieving these results in AD patients is not yet understood. Recent research has shown that moderate (~18 lx at the cornea) blue (~470 nm) light is effective at suppressing melatonin in normal humans. It was hypothesized that blue light applied just before AD patients retire to their beds for the night would have a measurable impact on their behavior. A pilot study was conducted for 30 days in a senior health care facility using four individuals diagnosed with mild to moderate levels of dementia. Four AD patients were exposed to arrays of blue light from light emitting diodes (max wavelength = 470 nm) in two-hour sessions (18:00 to 20:00 hours) for 10 days. As a control, they were exposed to red light (max wavelength = 640 nm) in two-hour sessions for 10 days prior to the blue light exposure. Despite the modest sample size, exposure to blue LEDs has shown to affect sleep quality and median body temperature peak of these AD patients. Median body temperature peak was delayed by approximately 2 hours after exposure to blue LEDs compared to exposure to red LEDs and sleep quality was improved. This pilot study demonstrated that light, especially LEDs, can be an important contribution to helping AD patients regulate their circadian functions.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 January 2004
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 5187, Third International Conference on Solid State Lighting, (26 January 2004); doi: 10.1117/12.511856
Show Author Affiliations
Mariana G Figueiro, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (United States)
John D. Bullough, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (United States)
Mark S. Rea, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5187:
Third International Conference on Solid State Lighting
Ian T. Ferguson; Nadarajah Narendran; Steven P. DenBaars; John C. Carrano, Editor(s)

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