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Information on the effects of bright lights on health was delivered through corporate level wellness programs. Volunteer study subjects were cabin crew members on long-haul flights. Subjects filled in a 16-Item Columbia Jet Lag Scale (maximum score 64) before the flight (expected symptoms based on previous flights), on the third day at the destination and again on the third day after returning home. Changes in scores were compared relative to the timed exposure to bright light, and to flights eastwards or westwards, and in summer or winter. RESULTS: Out of 75 subjects, 15 returned the questionnaires for a total of 28 flights. The mean estimated effect of bright light was a decrease of 5.3 points on the symptom scale. The difference was not significant (SE = 3.4, df = 11, t = -1.6, p = 0.15). The flight had no influence on the estimate. CONCLUSIONS: The results do not give support to the hypothesis that timed exposure to bright light would alleviate jet lag symptoms, although the small sample size was a problem. More field studies are needed to establish the feasibility of bright light for reducing jet lag.
10: Sleep Med. 2007 Sep;8(6):623-36. Epub 2007 Mar 26.
Disturbance and strategies for reactivation of the circadian rhythm system in aging and Alzheimer's disease.
Wu YH, Swaab DF.
Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Meibergdreef 47, 1105 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Circadian rhythm disturbances, such as sleep disorders, are frequently seen in aging and are even more pronounced in Alzheimer's disease (AD). Alterations in the biological clock, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), and the pineal gland during aging and AD are considered to be the biological basis for these circadian rhythm disturbances. Recently, our group found that pineal melatonin secretion and pineal clock gene oscillation were disrupted in AD patients, and surprisingly even in non-demented controls with the earliest signs of AD neuropathology (neuropathological Braak stages I-II), in contrast to non-demented controls without AD neuropathology. Furthermore, a functional disruption of the SCN was observed from the earliest AD stages onwards, as shown by decreased vasopressin mRNA, a clock-controlled major output of the SCN. The observed functional disconnection between the SCN and the pineal from the earliest AD stage onwards seems to account for the pineal clock gene and melatonin changes and underlies circadian rhythm disturbances in AD. This paper further discusses potential therapeutic strategies for reactivation of the circadian timing system, including melatonin and bright light therapy. As the presence of melatonin MT1 receptor in the SCN is extremely decreased in late AD patients, supplementary melatonin in the late AD stages may not lead to clear effects on circadian rhythm disorders.
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
11: Sleep Med. 2007 Sep;8(6):637-44. Epub 2007 Mar 26.
Treating chronobiological components of chronic insomnia.
Lack LC, Wright HR.
Flinders University, Department of Psychology, G.P.O. Box 2100, Adelaide, SA
5001, Australia. email@example.com
Circadian rhythms have a strong effect on the ability to sleep across the 24-h period. Maximum sleepiness occurs at the phase of lower endogenous core body temperature. This period is bracketed by two periods of alertness: a "wake-maintenance zone" occurring 6-10h before the time of core temperature minimum, and a "wake-up zone" occurring 4-7h after the minimum. Therefore, if the circadian rhythm drifts earlier with respect to the attempted sleep period, the wake-up zone can impinge on the end of the normal sleep period resulting in premature awakening and the development of early morning awakening insomnia. Similarly, a delay of the circadian rhythm can impose the wake-maintenance zone on the attempted bedtime and lead to sleep onset insomnia. Therefore, these two types of insomnia should be treatable with chronobiologic effects such as bright light and, possibly, melatonin administration. Bright light stimulation at normal wake-up time and melatonin administration 4-8h before normal bedtime can phase advance circadian rhythms to an earlier time. While morning bright light has been efficacious for sleep onset insomnia, evening melatonin administration has yet to be tested. Early morning awakening insomnia has been treated with phase delays imposed by evening bright light but not yet with morning melatonin administration. There is now sufficient evidence to warrant the consideration of chronobiologic manipulations such as bright light therapy for the treatment of chronic sleep onset and early morning awakening insomnia that show evidence of circadian delay or advance, respectively.
12: Mov Disord. 2007 Jul 30;22(10):1495-8.
Bright light therapy in Parkinson's disease: a pilot study.
Paus S, Schmitz-Hübsch T, Wüllner U, Vogel A, Klockgether T, Abele M.
Department of Neurology, University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany. firstname.lastname@example.org
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. Copyright 2007
Movement Disorder Society
Randomized Controlled Trial
13: Nonlinear Biomed Phys. 2007 Jul 5;1(1):5.
From conformons to human brains: an informal overview of nonlinear dynamics and its applications in biomedicine.
Institute of Biocybernetics and Biomedical Engineering Polish Academy of Sciences, Warsaw, Poland. email@example.com.
ABSTRACT: Methods of contemporary physics are increasingly important for biomedical research but, for a multitude of diverse reasons, most practitioners of biomedicine lack access to a comprehensive knowledge of these modern methodologies. This paper is an attempt to describe nonlinear dynamics and its methods in a way that could be read and understood by biomedical professionals who usually are not trained in advanced mathematics. After an overview of basic concepts and vocabulary of nonlinear dynamics, deterministic chaos, and fractals, application of nonlinear methods of biosignal analysis is discussed. In particular, five case studies are presented: 1. Monitoring the depth of anaesthesia and of sedation; 2. Bright Light Therapy and Seasonal Affective Disorder; 3. Analysis of posturographic signals; 4. Evoked EEG and photo-stimulation;
5. Influence of electromagnetic fields generated by cellular phones.
PMID: 17908344 [PubMed - in process]
14: J Clin Psychiatry. 2007 Jul;68(7):1146.
Bright light therapy for negative symptoms in schizophrenia: a pilot study.
Aichhorn W, Stelzig-Schoeler R, Geretsegger C, Stuppaeck C, Kemmler G.
15: Obesity (Silver Spring). 2007 Jul;15(7):1749-57.
Moderate exercise and bright light treatment in overweight and obese individuals.
Dunai A, Novak M, Chung SA, Kayumov L, Keszei A, Levitan R, Shapiro CM.
Sleep Research Unit, Department of Psychiatry, Toronto Western Hospital, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2S8.
OBJECTIVE: Increased physical activity is important given the concern over the growing rates of obesity. The aim of this study is to conduct a controlled investigation of the effects of bright light therapy and exercise on weight loss and body composition in overweight and obese individuals. RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Twenty-five overweight and obese subjects were assigned to 6 weeks of moderate exercise with or without bright light treatment. Outcome measure included changes in body mass and body composition and ratings of mood, seasonality, and sleep. RESULTS: Body weight decreased significantly with exercise in subjects in the light and non-light treatment groups, but the change was not significantly different between the groups. Similar results were found for BMI. With exercise, body fat decreased significantly only in the light treatment group. There was a significant effect of the interaction of group by time on body fat composition, but the group by time interaction failed to reach statistical significance for body weight and BMI. Mood scores improved significantly with exercise in the light group, but no significant changes were noted regarding sleep. DISCUSSION: This preliminary study is the first to show that addition of bright light treatment to a 6-week moderate exercise program can alter body composition by significantly reducing body fat. The reduction in body fat mass is of particular importance, because visceral fat has been particularly implicated as a major factor in the development of the metabolic syndrome. This study is an important step toward finding ways to maximize the effects of exercise.
Randomized Controlled Trial
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
16: Psychiatry Res. 2007 Jun 30;151(3):259-63. Epub 2007 Mar 21.
Impact of light therapy on rod and cone functions in healthy subjects.
Gagné AM, Gagné P, Hébert M.
Centre de recherche Université Laval Robert-Giffard (CRULRG), 2601 de la Canardière, F4500, Québec, Québec, Canada.
Light therapy is an effective treatment for patients with seasonal affective disorders and is commonly used at an intensity of 10,000 lx. The aim of this study was to investigate the direct impact of light therapy on cones and rods photoreceptors using the electroretinogram (ERG) technique. Twelve healthy subjects were exposed for 60 min to three light conditions: 10,000 lx, 100 lx and 5 lx. ERG cone and rod luminance response functions were obtained immediately after exposures. Cone function was not affected by any light conditions. Maximal response achieved by the rods was significantly lower following the 100 lx and 10,000 lx conditions when compared with the 5 lx condition. Retinal rod sensitivity was significantly lower in the 10,000 lx condition when compared with the 12 lx condition. A decrease in rod function can readily be observed at 100 lx, that is, at regular indoor lighting. This decrease could be related to the triggering of retinal dopamine production, which would favour day vision over night vision. The further decrease in light sensitivity observed after 60 min at 10,000 lx may be perceived as a protective mechanism of the rod system against bright light.
17: Int J Circumpolar Health. 2007 Jun;66(3):248-56.
Co-occurring SAD symptomatology and schizophrenia at high latitude: a pilot study.
Doorack JE, Allen J, Battaglia J.
Department of Psychology, University of Alaska Fairbanks, Fairbanks, Alaska 99775-6480, USA.
OBJECTIVES: Recent research investigates major depression with seasonal pattern, also called seasonal affective disorder (SAD), depression in schizophrenia and seasonality in schizophrenia, but there exits limited research investigating SAD in schizophrenia. This study documents co-occurring SAD symptomatology in patients with schizophrenia at high latitude. STUDY DESIGN: Clinical cross-sectional study of patients with schizophrenia attending treatment centres in Alaska. METHOD: Twenty-eight patients completed a structured interview assessing seasonal patterns in mood, depression, negative symptoms of schizophrenia and alcohol use. RESULTS: Thirty-six percent of patients with schizophrenia met the criteria for SAD used in previous general population research on SAD in Alaska. When a presence of major depressive episode was confirmed using a structured clinical interview for depression in schizophrenia, the rate was 25%. Severity of SAD symptoms was greatest among patients with alcohol-abuse history. CONCLUSIONS: Co-occurring SAD symptomatology was identified in this extreme latitude sample of patients with schizophrenia. The frequency and severity of symptomatology was greater than found in a general population study of SAD conducted in Alaska using identical criteria. SAD may be under-diagnosed in schizophrenia at moderate and extreme latitudes, highlighting clinical assessment considerations, potential utility of bright light therapy and the need for additional research.
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
18: Pharmacol Ther. 2007 May;114(2):222-32. Epub 2007 Feb 28.
Circadian genes, rhythms and the biology of mood disorders.
Department of Psychiatry and Center for Basic Neuroscience, University of Texas
Southwestern Medical Center, 5323 Harry Hines Boulevard, Dallas, TX 75390-9070,
For many years, researchers have suggested that abnormalities in circadian rhythms may underlie the development of mood disorders such as bipolar disorder (BPD), major depression and seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Furthermore, some of the treatments that are currently employed to treat mood disorders are thought to act by shifting or "resetting" the circadian clock, including total sleep deprivation (TSD) and bright light therapy. There is also reason to suspect that many of the mood stabilizers and antidepressants used to treat these disorders may derive at least some of their therapeutic efficacy by affecting the circadian clock. Recent genetic, molecular and behavioral studies implicate individual genes that make up the clock in mood regulation. As well, important functions of these genes in brain regions and neurotransmitter systems associated with mood regulation are becoming apparent. In this review, the evidence linking circadian rhythms and mood disorders, and what is known about the underlying biology of this association, is presented.
Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
19: Ind Health. 2007 Apr;45(2):301-8.
A short nap and natural bright light exposure improve positive mood status.
Kaida K, Takahashi M, Otsuka Y.
National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, Kanagawa, Japan.
While the effects of a short nap on performance and arousal level have been well investigated, less attention has been paid to its effects on mood status. The aim of the present study was to examine the effects of a short nap and natural bright light exposure on mood status. Participants were 16 healthy females who were on average 38.1 (SD = 2.68) yr old. From 11:00 to 12:00, the participants carried out a set of tasks twice with baseline lighting (<100 lux). From 12:40 to 13:10, they were subjected to three experimental conditions: control (<100 lux), natural bright light (>100>100>
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