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Light therapy can relieve symptoms of seasonal depression December 1, 2009

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Light Bulbs Always Make Me Happy!

Zoinks! Here is a great article on using light help treat seasonal depression. It comes from the Cleveland.com website. Useful info!

Dr. Z


Light therapy can relieve symptoms of seasonal depression

By Angela Townsend, The Plain Dealer

Kim Sherwin’s recent two-and-a-half week trip to Europe, made partly to watch the Cleveland Orchestra performances in Vienna, Austria, was perfect except for one thing.

She forgot her portable light therapy device.

The contraption is what helps Sherwin endure the overcast, dark and dreary days from September through March.

Sherwin, 70, of Cleveland, suffers from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

SAD is a form of depression marked by its consistency of almost always occurring in late fall or early winter.

The decrease in sunlight, compounded by shifting the clock back one hour, can affect an individual’s internal clock that regulates the sleep-wake rhythm.

And that, in turn, can do a number on energy levels. Symptoms include sleeping more than usual, eating more, particularly carbohydrates, and having an overall tendency to hibernate deeply.

For Sherwin, that meant staying in bed most days until afternoon.

“It just gets grimmer and grimmer, and I don’t want to get out of bed,” she said.

That’s where light therapy comes in. Five years ago, Sherwin, who takes antidepressants for other forms of depression, started using light therapy every morning.

Light therapy is the best form of treatment for seasonal affective disorder, says Dr. George Tesar, chairman of the department of psychiatry and psychology at the Cleveland Clinic.

Light therapy is not about sitting in a room illuminated with regular or fluorescent bulbs.

Nor is it jetting off to a warm, sunny climate for a few days, although that might provide fleeting relief.

Rather, it’s exposure to a special light with a particularly high intensity.

“Your eyes have to be open, and the back of your eyes need to see this light,” Tesar said. “The light that hits your retina triggers the changes in the brain that result in a positive response that relieves the depression.”

The light helps regulate one’s internal alarm clock, or circadian rhythm. It also helps regulate melatonin, the sleep hormone, and serotonin, the chemical in the brain that helps relay signals from one area of the brain to another. Changes in serotonin levels can affect a host of things, such as mood, appetite, sleep and memory.

The best time for light therapy is first thing in the morning, for about 30 minutes a day. Most people start to notice subtle changes in the first couple of weeks. But “the moment you stop using it, the effects start to wear off,” Tesar said.

Antidepressants (such as Wellbutrin, the only drug approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the specific treatment of SAD) are also available for more severe cases if light therapy isn’t effective.

“It’s best to avoid medication if you can,” Tesar said. “But if other treatments don’t work, it’s shortsighted not to try medication. Sometimes that’s the only thing to help re-regulate the chemical environment of the brain.”

Experts also recommend reducing carbohydrate intake, exercising more, staying social and getting fresh air whenever you can.

Light therapy, which has not been approved by the FDA to treat seasonal affective disorder, isn’t designed for everyone (extra caution is needed for people with pre-existing eye disease and certain mood disorders).

It’s easy to order devices online or buy them in stores, but using them should be done under a doctor’s supervision.

A couple of years ago, Sherwin stopped using a big light box and switched to a newer product the size of a compact disc holder.

Today, Sherwin eats breakfast and reads the newspaper while her Litebook sits off to the side, providing her light therapy for 30 minutes every morning.

“It just starts to grow on you,” Sherwin said. “So many people complain about the problems they have, but I just don’t think people know about these machines.”

The Litebook Co. is collaborating with Harvard University, Yale University and universities in Canada and the Netherlands on a clinical trial that started last December to explore how the product can be most effective in treating SAD.

“People have always acted like broad spectrum light is important, but it’s the pattern of light that’s important,” said Dr. Paul Desan, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale University who is coordinating the study.

Desan and his team are testing to see how the Litebook affects a person’s circadian rhythm. “Right now, [no device] that has been developed has been approved by the FDA to treat seasonal affective disorder,” Desan said. “We’d like to change that. We think this is the direction that the field is going in.”

Finding the right light

At least a dozen companies sell a wide variety of light therapy products — visors, alarm clocks, floor lamps, big light boxes — even though the Food and Drug Administration has not approved their use to treat seasonal affective disorder. Here’s some things you should know before buying.

What to look for

A good starting point for picking a product is to look for the unit of light intensity, or LUX. Special light therapy products often have 10,000 LUX, versus 500 LUX of a standard light bulb.

It’s important that the product emit little or no ultraviolet light. Some newer products use blue light instead of the standard white light found in most light therapy boxes. Some research suggests that blue light is more effective at reducing SAD symptoms; however, the retina is much more sensitive to blue light than it is to white light and could be damaged if directly exposed.

Check your insurance

Light therapy usually isn’t an item that insurance companies uniformly cover, but it’s worth checking with your provider; sometimes providing documentation of a SAD diagnosis from a physician is all you need.


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

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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.


Blanketing Doesn’t Keep Horses from Growing Winter Coats; But Lighting Can! June 17, 2009

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Gadzooks! Its me Dr Z! Here is a great article for you horse lovers out there. The article is about using fluorescent lighting to keep a horse’s coat short (without clipping). Horses can turn into real fuzzballs in the winter and if you are show horse thats going to effect your stage time. ZOinks!

Dr. Z




Icelandic Horse (www.wikimedia.org) 

Contrary to what many people think, horses don’t grow winter coats because temperatures drop. Rather, it is a response to the length of the day. As days get shorter, horses’ coats get longer. 

This means that some of the “traditional” methods of trying to reduce a horse’s winter coat, such as early blanketing or keeping them in a heated a barn, actually have no effect.

To keep a horse’s coat short (without clipping) many show barns use lighting to artificially lengthen the day and “fool” the horse into not growing a winter coat.

Researchers at Texas A&M University’s Department of Equine Scientists tested the theory that exposing horses to 16 hours of “daylight” (the length of the day on the summer solstice) to find out if it would retard fall hair growth or cause early shedding. The experiment was conducted on 16 horses (yearlings and two year olds) that were randomly assigned to normal or extended day length groups.

The project started October 1 when the extended day length (ED) group started receiving 16 hours of day light per day and the non-extended day length (NED) groups received natural day light only.  All horses were housed in the same non-heated barn and none of the horses were blanketed throughout the project. 

On day 1 the hair on a 1×2 inch square, under the mane, was clipped then shaved to skin level. Hair from these areas was reclipped on days 28 and 56 and measured for growth.  

After 28 days, the two groups showed approximately equal growth. But from there, the differences became obvious. On the last day of the experiment, December 6th, the hair on the NED group was nearly three times longer than the hair on the ED group.

Surprisingly, you don’t need special lamps to achieve this effect: you can use standard incandescent or fluorescent lights placed over, or close to, a horse’s stall. Horses have shown a response with as little as 3 foot candles of light (one foot candle is the amount of light that a birthday cake candle generates from one foot away), but 10 foot candles of light is the standard recommendation. Essentially, if you can read a newspaper from any location in the stall, you have enough light. 

To achieve the effect, horses need to receive 16 continuous hours of light (natural and artificial) and 8 hours of darkness. 24 hours of continuous light doesn’t do the trick; there needs to be a period of darkness. Most barn owners use timers to achieve the desired amount of light.

The other effect of keeping horses under lights is that mares will continue to come into season.

Video-A Light Bulb Moment for People with Dementia June 15, 2009

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Zoinks! Here is a great video on what may be a giant breakthrough for the treatment of dementia! Using light!

Dr. Z


Light Bulbs and Dieting May 19, 2009

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Zoinks! Its me Dr Z! The Pharoah of Fluorescent loony for light bulbs. Did you know that using the right light bulb can help you if you are on a diet? Well I didn’t! Mr Y found this article when reading his favorite blog “chick chat” ( don’t ask)Check out the article below for how using the correct color of light can assist you in staying on your diet.

Get Lit Stay Lit

Dr Z


While interviewing color psychologist Steven Bleicher for today’s article on purple, Bleicher gave me an interesting diet tip. To help curb those frequent, mindless trips to the refrigerator, change the bulb in the fridge, he suggested.

“If you’re on a diet and you replace a white bulb with a blue bulb, the bulb changes the color of the foods and makes them look unappetizing,” said Bleicher.

“We relate the idea of blue and blue-green to mold and spoiled food,” he explained.

Because of this unconscious association, early humans avoided foods with blue pigments, so those foods slowly became extinct. That’s why today there are only a handful of blue foods founds in nature.

Bleicher, author of “Contemporary Color: Theory and Use” and a professor at Coastal Carolina University near Myrtle Beach, S.C., said that there are colors that make diners eat more.

“Yellows and oranges and bright reds stimulate the appetite. They stimulate the adrenal gland, so you order more and eat it faster and that’s what they want,” said Bleicher, referring to fast-food restaurants and their countless red and yellow signs that dot the streets.

“Sixty percent of your decision to buy an object is based on a certain color. And you usually make that decision very fast in 90 seconds,” he added.

So if you want to lose weight, train your mind to ignore the goodies hidden behind the red and gold signs and instead opt for a blue plate special.


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

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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.

Another great article about lighting and helping the winter blues February 13, 2009

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Zoinks! For Dr Z, happiness is a warm light bulb!

Zoinks! For Dr Z, happiness is a warm light bulb!


Zoinks! Dr Z here to shed some light on light! Here is a little article I found from the The Counseling Corner which extols the virtues of good lighting being a effective way to counter mid winter depression! Check it out!

Dr. Z



Have the winter blues? Take in some sunshine
The Counseling Corner
Monday, February 2, 2009

CORPUS CHRISTI — Not feeling yourself lately? Perhaps you’re a bit sluggish, a little irritable, sleeping longer, or just feeling a bit down about everything? Welcome to seasonal depression, or as it’s commonly known, the “winter blues” or the “winter blahs.”

It’s a much more common problem than most people realize, and yes, it can be serious. Some people find winter weather depresses them enough that it interferes with normal life and leads to severe feelings of depression. Such cases are known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and can be serious enough to warrant treatment by a mental health professional.

But for most of us it’s just a minor inconvenience and, fortunately, one that you can do something about.

Since the shorter days and lack of sunlight in winter plays a role in bringing on winter blues, the obvious cure is to increase the amount of light in your life. If it’s a bright, sunny day, bundle up and get outside for a bit. If it’s gray and dreary, try turning on extra lights to brighten things up and to use broad spectrum bulbs that simulate natural sunlight.

Exercise also helps fight those tired feelings of winter. Just a short daily walk or gym workout can help your body and mind overcome those feelings of no energy.

Even little things can make a difference. When you’re feeling down, give a friend a call and talk about happy things. Watch a favorite funny TV show or movie. Read a book that you know you’ll enjoy, or spend some time on a hobby that makes you feel good.

Getting involved with others is another way to feel better. From fun socializing to volunteering at your church, a local shelter, or nonprofit agency, get out more. Helping others almost always brings better feelings, and when you combine that good work with a nice bright smile, you may find you just don’t have time for feeling blue.

Of course, there are many things that can cause depression besides cold, gray skies. If you find that you just can’t overcome those blue feelings, and if such feelings are interfering with your enjoyment of a normal life, seek help. Counseling professionals can both help pinpoint the cause of your feelings and suggest ways to combat that depression.

Bottom line? Take action and don’t let the winter blues take the fun out of your life.

Can Light bulbs beat the winter blues? Article #2 February 5, 2009

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Even Jack Frost feels better under good lighting!

Even Jack Frost feels better under good lighting!

Zoinks ! Its me Dr. Z the pharoah of lightbulb fun. Here is another (see a previous post I made https://getlitstaylit.wordpress.com/2009/02/03/can-light-bulbs-beat-the-winter-blues/) great article on lighting and getting rid of the winter blues.  This one STL.com.

Shine some light on winter gloom


During the long darknesses of winter, your home’s lighting takes on added importance. And when it comes to creative choices, there are many possibilities.

Here are just a few worth looking into:

Rope lighting

Rope lighting can add drama and interest. It’s nothing more than flexible plastic tubing that contains a tiny light every few inches. Rope lighting is approximately ½-inch in diameter and can easily be concealed behind the front edge of cabinets, above crown molding, even as edging on stairs and counters. It is easy to work with, and sometimes comes with an extension cord that can be painted to match the existing baseboard or wall.
Compact fluorescent lighting

Compact fluorescent lighting is still the best bang for your buck. Bulbs are available to fit just about every conventional light socket, and they last forever. Take your time and shop wisely. For a couple of bucks, you can pick up a compact fluorescent light that will last for nearly a decade. Old-fashioned tungsten bulbs just don’t cut it anymore.


 GadZooks! Maybe thats why I’m so darn happy all the time! Wowie Zowie Zooom!

Get Lit Stay Lit




Can Light bulbs beat the winter blues? February 3, 2009

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Zoinks! maybe frosty just needs to use the right light bulb?

Zoinks! maybe frosty just needs to use the right light bulb?

Gad-Zooks! it me Dr Z.
It mid winter and a lot of people can be feeling a little tired or sluggish and even downright awful. Well alot of things can help this such as excersize and diet but did you know that some doctors think light might be the best cure? Check out this article that ran in Green
Buzz up! Winter’s cold temperatures, early sunsets and record snowfalls may have more residents experiencing bay-Press Gazzette (Wisconsin knows a thing or two about cold temps)

Wintertime sadness may not be cabin fevercabin fever.

But for sufferers of seasonal affective disorder, reactions to the winter blues are much more serious, said Jay Livingston, Aurora Health Care psychotherapist.

“It’s a situation where people notice a worsening of depressive symptoms occurring in the winter months, typically late fall around October,” he said.

Research has been done to show that those in the northern climates, like Green Bay, are more prone to seasonal affective disorder, he said.

“Probably one out of five people in northern climates will experience this sometime in their life,” Livingston said.

Symptoms can include increased sleeping, increased appetite and weight gain and general feelings of depression and feeling down.

“It’s something that usually continues through the winter months and improves on its own as the days start getting longer,” Livingston said.

Seasonal affective disorder might be more common in women, especially those between the ages of 18 and 30. Livingston said there are varying opinions as to why that might be.

Direct exposure to light is a main cure for seasonal affective disorder, and increased exercise and a healthful diet are also encouraged, he said. If those don’t help, a health professional should be contacted.

Light therapy, using lighting that mimics outdoor light, can also be effective, he said, adding that a number of insurance companies now pay for the treatment.

Livingston said those who feel they could be suffering from seasonal affective disorder should contact their family physician with concerns.

“We do see a lot of these cases,” he said.

Zoinks! Lets maybe I’m on to something! I alway feel like spring chicken after working in my Lighthouse lab!

Till next time

Get lit and stay lit

Dr. Z




Painting with Light!-The Philips Imagination Light Canvas January 29, 2009

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Zoinks! Its me Dr Z! Light can be fun! Check this out..

Dr. Z





A trip to the hospital can be frightening for anyone, especially for children. But now a leading health and technology company is brightening up trips to the doctor, literally!

The Philips Imagination Light Canvas is a 14 feet long, six feet high light wall that uses touch screens to animate more than 14 hundred LED lights in different colors. The lights can also be programmed to show different patterns and designs. Kids use their hands to activate the lights and paint on the canvas. Up to six people can draw on it at the same time, and despite all of the colorful and bright lights, it only consumes the daily energy equivalent of a toaster.

The new technology helps children and their families relieve some of the stress and anxiety of their visit. The prototype resides at the women’s and children’s waiting area of the new Mercy Medical Center in Rogers, Arkansas.