Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Thousands of people die every year from this degenerating disease. Scientists are still no closer to¬†finding a cure, even though research is being carried out daily.

The light therapy is mainly used in the advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease. It is well known for anybody who has been involved with a Alzheimer’s patient that they are at their best early in the mornings. This is because as the disease progresses it affects the part of the brain that controls the circadian rhythms.What the circadian rhythm does is it controls our body clock and the sleep-wake cycle in our brain.

It is common that an Alzheimer’s patient will start to become very agitated in the late afternoon and evening. This is because there eyes become affected, and as the daylight starts to disappear they find it harder to focus on things. They even find it hard to settle during the night and often wandering around the house. This is called sundowning.

The Alzheimer’s light is a helmet which has infrared lights attached to it and it fits onto the head. Scientist first carried out research with this helmet on mice, results proved that it showed great improvement in their learning ability. The mice also showed signs or less agitation at night time.

The trial was for twelve weeks and was tested on men and women between 60 and 70. Half of the participants where given one hour of exposure to bright natural light each morning. The rest where exposed to low light each day. Tests proved that the participants who where given the bright natural light, showed signs of not being as agitated during the day and settling in bed on a night a lot longer than normal.

Tests also proved that the Alzheimer’s therapy light treatment has slowed down the deterioration of the nerve cells in the brain. Which means that an Alzheimer’s patient has been able to live a lot longer in their own home.

Although this is not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, if this treatment can give an Alzheimer’s patient a better way of light then that has got to be a positive thing.¬†Research is still being carried out on the light therapy at the moment.