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Wall Street Journal:Seeking a Light Approach to Elderly Sleep Troubles July 7, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Uncategorized.
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Wowie Zowie! Its me, Dr. Z! The pharoah of fluorescent and lord of light! More and more researchers are finding that light can be to help the elderly in variety of ways(depression, sadd, seeing..) This recent article shows how light can be used in helping sleep troubles.  So Read On!

Dr. Z



TROY, N.Y.—At 100 years old, Katherine Closson hardly sleeps like a baby.

She often waits until 11:30 p.m. to go to bed, then listens to classical music until she falls asleep around 12:30. Five hours later, she is awake. “I’m going to get a job as night watchman here,” jokes Ms. Closson, who lives in an assisted-living facility in this city outside of Albany, N.Y.

A few miles away, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are searching for practical ways to alleviate the sleep troubles that plague many elderly people by adjusting the lighting where they live. Difficulty with sleeping can contribute to overuse of sleep medications.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Instistute Researchers are testing if blue light can help regulate sleep.

Mariana Figueiro, the director of RPI’s “light and health” program, is looking to apply research about the relationship between light and the 24-hour internal body clock, known as circadian rhythm. This rhythm tells us when to sleep and awaken and helps coordinate many bodily functions that operate on daily cycles. For older people, extended time spent indoors and the effects of aging on the eyes and the brain can cause the circadian rhythm to get out of whack.

Researchers are focusing on sending signals to the brain by means of light to keep the body’s circadian rhythm in sync with the rising and the setting of the sun. For this purpose, there’s strong evidence that the eye is most responsive to light at wavelengths that appear to us as blue. Light that we see outdoors tends to have more blue in it, whereas light from a typical incandescent light bulb has more red tones.

Dr. Figueiro says she is working to establish a “24-hour lighting scheme for older people” living at home or in institutions. That means deciding, among the myriad light sources, which should be used, when, where, and at what colors and brightness, both to help the elderly see and to better keep their bodies’ rhythms in check. “How to deliver the light is a big thing,” Dr. Figueiro says. “If you can start being a little more systematic in controlling the dose, then you’re going to start seeing better results.”

There are skeptics of blue light’s impact on sleep, and more tests are needed to establish the connection to sleep and the timing that is most effective for different people, Dr. Figueiro says.

Her research team works out of RPI’s Lighting Research Center, which conducts an array of tests ranging from measuring the glare of an automobile headlight to calculating the energy efficiency of different light bulbs. Dr. Figueiro, a 40-year-old native of Brazil, trained as an architect before earning her doctorate in multidisciplinary science. For its work on sleep and the elderly, RPI has received funding from the National Institutes of Health, groups such as the American Institute of Architects and through donations of equipment from lighting makers.

As people age, they tend to take longer to fall asleep, and they sleep more lightly and awaken more often during the night, says Philip Sloane, a geriatrician at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, who is working with RPI on research on sleep and aging. Patients with Alzheimer’s disease often have such “chaotic” sleep rhythms that they commonly may be asleep in the middle of the afternoon and awake at 1 a.m., he says.

Others in the field include the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, which published a multiyear study last year in the Journal of the American Medical Association showing that placing bright white lights in common living areas resulted in a moderate improvement in sleep patterns of 189 elderly study subjects, most with dementia.

Dr. Figueiro has worked with small groups of older people in each of her experiments. In the earliest such test, in 2002, Dr. Figueiro placed four boxes containing light-emitting diodes, some blue and some red, on tables in a local nursing home’s community room. Four Alzheimer’s patients sat there for two hours each session, spending some sessions exposed to the blue LEDs and others exposed to red or no LEDs. After they retired for the night, nurses checked on them every two hours. Participants who had been exposed to the blue light were asleep during these checks 66% of the time. That compared with 54% for participants who had been exposed to red LEDs.

In a later experiment, Dr. Figueiro used light bulbs that emitted a white color with a blue tint, imitating daylight. She didn’t expect the light to affect circadian rhythm as effectively as purer blue light, but the bulbs can easily be used in home lamps.

Dr. Figueiro says four elderly people with sleep problems, but who weren’t Alzheimer’s patients, completed the study. They showed improvement in their sleep quality as measured by a device that monitors wrist movement, an indicator of the body’s rest and activity patterns.

The 100-year old Ms. Closson, one of the participants in that experiment, says she isn’t sure whether her sleep improved. But she still uses the blue-tinted bulbs, including in a lamp over the green armchair where she reads. “It’s a beautiful light,” she says.

Recently, Dr. Figueiro has experimented with a new technique. She used battery-powered blue LEDs on the top edge of safety glasses that patients could wear for an hour or two a day. A preliminary study with 11 subjects showed that the light suppressed their levels of melatonin—a naturally occurring hormone that is produced at night—suggesting that the glasses could help regulate the body’s clock.



A ‘light bulb’ moment for people with dementia May 13, 2009

Posted by Dr. Z Bulbs in Controversial information, light bulb, List Article.
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Zoinks! It’s me Dr. Z. Its seems that there new breakthoughs constantly happening in the world of lighting everyday! Check this exciting new article on the possibility that light can be a treatment for dementia!

Dr. Z


A ‘light bulb’ moment for people with dementia



ontact: Susan Griffith
Case Western Reserve University

CLEVELAND Change the lighting; improve your health. It’s a strategy researchers from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing and the School of Medicine, the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Center at the Louis Stokes Cleveland Veterans Affairs Medical Center (GRECC), Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Lighting Research Center and GE Consumer & Industrial have begun to test in a long-term care facility where daylight, which has proven health benefits, is not readily available.

The researchers removed some standard fluorescent lighting and installed new blue-white lamp prototypes developed by GE scientists at the company’s Nela Park campus.

Research team members hypothesize that periods of blue light, like daylight, can help regulate the sleep-wake rhythm, which is a behavioral pattern linked to the 24-hour biochemical circadian cycle of the hormone melatonin. Depending on the level of the hormone, people are awake or sleepy.

The researchers want to regulate the sleep-wake cycle by regulating the amount of exposure to blue-white (wakefulness) and yellow-white (sleepiness) light. By increasing exposure to blue-white light during the day and yellow-white light in the evening, researchers hope to help patients regulate their sleep-wake cycles so that they are more awake during the day and more asleep at night.

Patricia Higgins, associate professor at the Bolton School of Nursing and one of the lead investigators, says the project may prove to be especially beneficial for people suffering from dementia.

In a recently conducted pilot study with five male patients, each suffering from dementia and living in a long-term care facility, researchers installed the blue-white lights in an activities room where most residents gathered for meals and daytime activities.

“We wanted to see whether lighting could affect the participants’ sleep-wake rhythms,” says Higgins. “While the group was small, the results show promise in raising activity levels during daytime hours and increasing sleep at nighttime.”

The researchers plan a larger study with residents with dementia at two Northeast Ohio long-term care facilities. The study will include men and women to see if light impacts the genders differently. An unexpected side effect of the lighting is that once adjusted to the blue-white light, most employees reported that they liked the new lighting conditions.

For a number of decades it has been known that light affects how people feel. Those particularly sensitive to changes in light have benefited from a boost in the brightness of light sources. The new lighting used in the test changes the color without overpowering individuals with brightness, according to the researchers.

“Why waste light if you can tune it to the right color and maximize the amount of useful light,” says Mariana Figueiro, assistant professor at Rensselaer and program director at Rensselaer’s Lighting Research Center.”Light is a good stimulus for the circadian system, which regulates your sleep-wake cycles,” says Thomas Hornick, associate director at the GRECC at the Veterans Administration Hospital and associate professor at the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He says it is known that certain drugs do better when given at the appropriate time in the circadian cycle.

As a safe, non-pharmacological intervention, researchers also hope to apply information from the study to changing the lighting in hospitals where patients may have a speedier recovery or improved quality of life with a good night’s rest.

“We’re innovators at heart,” says Mark Duffy, engineering and technology systems manager, GE Consumer & Industrial. “Our goal entering this collaboration was to apply the passion and inventiveness, which we bring to every customer need or application, to a project that has implications for society at large. We’re proud to be part of this effort.”

If changing the lighting works to improve health, the researchers plan to take what would be a natural next step: trying to influence public policy to include new lighting standards for healthcare facilities.




Visit http://www.case.edu/think/breakingnews/Lightbulb.html for further information.

To view and download broadcast ready clip, visit https://www.yousendit.com/transfer.php?action=batch_download&send_id=684396834&email=c48cf48b16188976f1ff26fc7913442a. (The order of appearance is Patricia Higgins, associate professor of nursing, Case Western Reserve University; Mark Duffy, engineering and technology systems manager, GE Consumer & Industrial; and William W Beers, lead design engineer, GE Consumer & Industrial.)

Case Western Reserve University is among the nation’s leading research institutions. Founded in 1826 and shaped by the unique merger of the Case Institute of Technology and Western Reserve University, Case Western Reserve is distinguished by its strengths in education, research, service, and experiential learning. Located in Cleveland, Case Western Reserve offers nationally recognized programs in the Arts and Sciences, Dental Medicine, Engineering, Law, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Social Work. http://www.case.edu.

GE Consumer & Industrial spans the globe as an industry leader in major appliances, lighting and integrated industrial equipment, systems and services. Providing solutions for commercial, industrial and residential use in more than 100 countries, GE Consumer & Industrial uses innovative technologies and ecomaginationSM, a GE initiative to aggressively bring to market new technologies that help customers and consumers meet pressing environmental challenges, to deliver comfort, convenience and electrical protection and control. General Electric (NYSE: GE), imagination at work, sells products under the Monogram, Profile, GE, Hotpoint, SmartWater, Reveal and Energy Smart consumer brands, and Entellisys, Tetra, Vio and Immersion commercial brands. For more information, consumers may visit www.ge.com.

The Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center proudly serves 100,000 veterans throughout northeastern Ohio each year in its two medical centers and thirteen community-based outpatient clinics. The Cleveland VA is one of the most cost effective of the VA’s large teaching hospitals and leads the VA with seven Clinical Centers of Excellence in Open Heart Surgery, Substance Abuse, Care of the Seriously Mentally Ill, Medical Care of the Homeless, Domiciliary, Geriatric Evaluation and Management, and Spinal Cord Injury/Dysfunction Care. The Cleveland VA also leads the VA with two research centers of excellence. The Cleveland VA is fully accredited by the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations and the first VA to receive Joint Commission Disease Specific Certification for Inpatient Diabetes.

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world’s premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master’s programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. For more information, visit www.lrc.rpi.edu.