Light therapy could help combat some of the worst symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Erratic sleep, aggression and restlessness worsen when it’s night-time, suggesting the Alzheimer’s sufferer is far more sensitive to changes in light levels than the healthy person.
But compensating for the lack of sunlight with a light therapy that flattens our usual circadian cycles could reduce symptoms, say researchers from the University of Virginia.
They tested the idea on laboratory mice whose exposure to light was altered, stimulating a sense of ‘jet lag’, while changes in their behaviour was logged. They reacted quickly to levels of light while other mice adapted more gradually to the changes.
The researchers reckon the Alzheimer’s sufferer is more acutely aware of light levels, and it could be linked to the retina and its reactions to the circadian cycle.