Navigation Links
Adding Light Eases Behavioral Problems of Dementia
Date:6/10/2008

Study found it fixed circadian rhythms, helped with depression, agitation in elderly

TUESDAY, June 10 (HealthDay News) -- Relatively simple adjustments in lighting may ease some of the behavioral problems associated with dementia, new research suggests.

Use of melatonin, a hormone which seems to play a role in the sleep-wake cycle, also helped patients sleep better at night.

Both strategies could greatly improve quality of life for both patients and caregivers, said the authors of a study in the June 11 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"Elderly residents of group-care facilities should preferably be housed in a brighter environment," said study senior author Eus J. W. Van Someren, of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience in Amsterdam. "This has a strong impact on their quality of life. The favorable effects are not limited to cognition, but also include strong effects on mood and functional limitations in activities of daily living."

The benefits may even surpass those of cholinesterase inhibitors such as Aricept, which are commonly prescribed to limit cognitive decline in Alzheimer's patients, the authors stated.

Not only do individuals with dementia experience memory and other problems with cognition, they often end up with mood, behavior, sleep and functional disturbances.

A recent study found that anti-psychotic medications often prescribed for behavioral problems such as aggression and agitation can increase the risk of hospitalization and even death. Unfortunately, alternatives to these drugs are limited.

But there has been some evidence that disturbances in circadian rhythms and sleep-wake cycles might be at play in patients with dementia, and that interventions aimed at these processes might provide relief.

"In advanced Alzheimer's, the circadian rhythm becomes asynchronous," explained Dr. Christopher C. Colenda, the Jean and Thomas McMullin Dean of Medicine at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine. "The pathology of Alzheimer's begins to affect areas of the brain that are associated with the normal sleep-wake cycle. One of the most powerful entrainers [modifiers] of the sleep-wake cycle is bright light."

Colenda has published shorter-term studies that found that giving full-spectrum bright light to Alzheimer's patients showed some evidence of normalizing the day-night cycle.

The study involved 189 residents of 12 group-care facilities in the Netherlands, 87 percent of whom suffered from dementia. The mean age was 86.

Participants were randomly assigned (by facility) to receive either long-term daily treatment with bright or dim light and (by participants) to receive 2.5 milligrams of melatonin in the evening or a placebo for up to 3.5 years.

Half of the facilities involved had bright lighting mounted in the ceiling which were on from about 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day.

Bright light reduced cognitive deficits by 5 percent, cut symptoms of depression by 19 percent and decreased the gradual increase in functional limitations by 53 percent, relative to the dim-light group.

The results on melatonin were mixed: While (in combination with bright light) it reduced the time it took to fall asleep by 19 percent, increased mean duration of uninterrupted sleep by 25 percent, and decreased agitated behavior by 9 percent, melatonin had no effect on depressive symptoms and, in fact, increased withdrawn behavior, according to caretakers.

The authors speculated that the dose of melatonin was too high and that a lower dose should be considered.

"The sleep-cycle and dysregulation of the sleep cycles are important contributors to behavioral problems in Alzheimer's patients, especially in later stages of the disease, so if there is an environmental intervention like light that can help, that's a good deal," Colenda said.

"The interesting thing is that even though the brain is diseased in Alzheimer's, it still has some malleability for intervention that may help promote better quality of life for patients and their families," he added.

More information

The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more on different types of dementia.



SOURCES: Eus J. W. Van Someren, Ph.D., Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam; Christopher C. Colenda, M.D., Jean and Thomas McMullin Dean of Medicine, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine; June 11, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. %DV: Adding Up a Balanced Diet
2. Adding epratuzumab to standard therapy
3. Adding ultrasound screening to mammography brings benefits, risks
4. Freeland, MI Woman Wins $50,000 for Losing Weight, Adding Muscle and Changing Her Life
5. Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Users now can include Telephony and Call Recording features by adding ConversationPRO(TM) from VoiceGate, a Division of IgeaCare Systems Inc.
6. Coalition to Protect Floridas Drivers Applauds Governor Crist for Adding PIP to Special Session
7. Experts highlight gaps in knowledge on caring for survivors of teenage and young adult cancers
8. Stem cell discovery sheds light on placenta development
9. Shining a Light on Sunscreen: Sun Protection Misconceptions Unveiled by Dr. Jeffrey Dover and CVS/pharmacy
10. Sunlight, Vitamin D May Cut Kids Diabetes Risk
11. Fifteenth Annual Pridelights Goes Green
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Adding Light Eases Behavioral Problems of Dementia
(Date:7/21/2017)... , ... July 21, 2017 , ... West Dermatology is ... Doan Vu, PA-C. Beginning July 17, 2017, Ms. Vu will join West Dermatology’s large ... of experience in dermatology, skin cancer , and more. She graduated from the ...
(Date:7/21/2017)... ... July 21, 2017 , ... ... concussion rates are on the rise, say researchers presenting their work at the ... Ontario, Canada. , “The combination of evaluating the patterns of change in concussion ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... 20, 2017 , ... Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is a ... without treatment. Newly diagnosed patients face intense chemotherapy regimens and a stem cell ... With such a challenging diagnosis that requires immediate action, patients and caregivers need ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... For individuals with extended hospital stays or ... used in such facilities are specially designed to accommodate patients with a wide range ... An inventor from Rochester, Ind., has invented the patent-pending PORTABLE ARM REST, a specially ...
(Date:7/20/2017)... ... July 20, 2017 , ... Doctors on Liens, the leading network ... Horine Chiropractic , directed by Dr. Russell Horine, DC to their exclusive list of ... with Dr. Russell Horine serving as the clinic director and his son Dr. Lee ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:7/12/2017)... CarpalAID is a revolutionary new product that relieves painful carpal tunnel ... syndrome affects more than 8 million people a year. Women suffer ... common methods of treating CTS are painful surgery, the use of ... ... is a clear patch worn on the palm of the hand. ...
(Date:7/11/2017)... Research Corp., also known as ,The Epigenetics Company, announced today the release ... manner using the myDNAge ™ test. Based on Horvath,s Clock, so ... and biostatistics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA ... DNAge ™ technology is used to analyze DNA methylation patterns of ... ...
(Date:7/11/2017)... Md. , July 11, 2017  The global ... estimated revenues of approximately $394.1 million in 2016.  Although ... trend of solid growth, in particular as a result ... clinical practice, and the recent introduction of a significant ... need for less-invasive testing of tumor biomarkers to guide ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: