Information and Articles of Future use of Light Therapy
Sleep disturbances are common in persons with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia (ADRD), resulting in a negative impact on the daytime function of the affected person and on the wellbeing of caregivers. The sleep/wake pattern is directly driven by the timing signals generated by a circadian pacemaker, which may or may not be perfectly functioning in those with ADRD. A 24-hour light/dark pattern incident on the retina is the most efficacious stimulus for entraining the circadian system to the solar day. In fact, a carefully orchestrated light/dark pattern has been shown in several controlled studies of older populations, with and without ADRD, to be a powerful non-pharmacological tool to improve sleep efficiency and consolidation. Discussed here are research results from studies looking at the effectiveness of light therapy in improving sleep, depression, and agitation in older adults with ADRD. A 24-hour lighting scheme to increase circadian entrainment, improve visibility, and reduce the risk of falls in those with ADRD is proposed, and future research needs are discussed.
New generation of laser and light therapies could provide future treatment options for skin, hair and nail conditions
Lasers and light sources have become a mainstay in dermatology and dermatologists have played a significant role in their development for treating skin conditions and improving aging skin. Now, the latest breakthroughs in laser and light therapies are zeroing in on providing an alternative treatment for hair loss, nail fungus and cellulite. Dermatologists caution that more scientific data are needed before these new treatments can be recommended, but these developments could lead to even better treatment options in the future.
Effect of Light on Health
Physicians have long been advising their patients to seek adequate light as a necessary component of health. However, it wasn’t until very recently that science has been able to show how instrumental bright light exposure can be to maintaining physical and mental health.
In 1984, a seminal paper defining Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) described application of bright artificial light for the treatment of winter depression. Dr. Norman Rosenthal and colleagues hypothesized that lengthening the daily photoperiod (in effect, mimicking summer day length in the northern latitudes) would lead to remission of winter depressive symptoms.
Research & Clinical Studies
Since that time, many centers around the world have conducted studies using bright light in various varieties and applications. These studies have refined the clinical issues involved in use of bright light therapy, showing, for example, that it is not necessary to mimic the length of a spring or summer day for a remission of depressive symptoms, but merely to deliver the photic pulse, as short as 30 minutes, to signal a springtime sunrise to the nervous system.
Studies have also been investigated the safety of exposure to bright light therapy and, while found to be safe for most people, those with pre-existing eye abnormalities should undergo this treatment method with periodic eye examinations. 2005 was a signal year for the field, with consensus achieved by an American Psychiatric Association work group that light can serve as a first-line treatment intervention for both seasonal and nonseasonal depression. In other words, we have a viable alternative or adjunct to antidepressant drugs.
Bright Light Therapy and Sleep Disorders
Another area where bright light therapy has proven beneficial is in the treatment of certain sleep disorders. In advanced sleep phase syndrome (ASPS) we see premature sleep onset and early morning awakening. Conversely, in delayed sleep phase syndrome (DSPS) we see difficulty initiating sleep before 1 a.m. (sometimes much later) and an impossible struggle to awaken for a normal workday. These insomnias are often associated with altered circadian rhythms of body temperature and melatonin secretion by the pineal gland. Selective application of bright light therapy in the morning (to correct phase delayed patients) or in the evening (to correct phase advanced patients) has been very effective in “resetting” patients’ internal clock to coincide with normal living schedules.
Future applications of bright light therapy may well include any area where a disease or syndrome recurs seasonally, shows winter exacerbation, or plausibly is related to insufficient or ill-timed outdoor light exposure regardless of the season. Examples of promising research include light treatment for bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder, depression during pregnancy and premenstrual depression, adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, correction of discomfort related to shift work and jet lag, and behavioral disruptions of Alzheimer’s disease including sleep and daytime agitation.
BRIEF Summary of Some uses:
Until recently, it was difficult to "have" narrow band light. New high-precision filters make it possible to for truly narrow band light to be presented to a viewer. Recent advancements in optical technology have been dramatic and make possible various new ways to present narrow band light: precision gratings, tunable filters, bandpass filters. Fiber optic and new projection technology make lower-cost "practical" instrumentation possible.
Certain frequencies of light appear to stimulate the individual in ways that improve (or degrade) performance. Research is needed to determine if narrow band light techniques would consistently provide useful results. This would be particularly valuable for those interested in non-drug and non-invasive performance technology.
The ability to "make" narrow band light is relatively new. (See "New Instruments" above)
It is possible that certain frequencies of light will be found to stimulate, encourage, "nourish", the immune system. (Might they also stress, weaken, or exhaust the immune system?) No formal research is known on this. The existing, recognized, and highly successful skin-applied phototherapy technology where a "blue light" is applied to the skin of infants gives indication that there may be more to light use than is presently known.
It is well known and has been since the beginning of "health care" that good diet, fresh air, and good sunlight are foundations of good health. Certain frequencies of light appear to be very influential for some individuals.
Certain frequencies of light presented in a viewer-selectable "rate" are very strongly deep relaxation and sleep related. This is an area where immediate results for some individuals have been noted. New applications of phototherapy with narrow band light may provide value in sleep disorder therapies. More on sleep [click here]
The other side of "Relaxation" see above. Perhaps increased activity, stimulated with light, would be a valuable addition to weight control programs. Related to this is the potential for appetite influence.
These results are easy to measure. Informal observation indicates that clearly there is influence in this area. The influence of certain narrow bands of light can be dramatic. See new measurement technology.
Observations indicate that homeostatic response can be a reaction to selection and viewing of certain frequencies of light. This is of key importance. Wellness and healing are linked to homeostasis. Consider the value of technology that would "encourage" or "support" healing and recovery.
It is known that certain frequencies of light can trigger very vivid memory and emotional response. This is an area of wide research potential.
Narrow Band Light is Not Laser Light, it is Light That Passes Through Unique Narrow Band Optical Filters
Note: Do not use laser light on any part of the eye or body of human or animal tissue unless you are a trained, licensed (if required in your area), properly oriented practitioner, doctor, or technician.
This is an area of promise. The perception and sense of the level of pain is reported to be influenced by a number of factors. Photostimulation / Phototherapy may offer significant relief for some individuals. Research is needed.
While narrow band light technology discussed at this Website is new, considerable experience with application of "colored" light over many years with what is called "Syntonic" light or "Syntonics" has produced a compelling body of related knowledge.
Syntonics is a special practice using color light developed by an early and brilliant observer of light's influence on plants, animals and humans, Doctor R. Spitler.
It is well-known to a long-established and growing group of optometrists and vision care specialists, that constricted visual fields (see instruments page) usually expand as a result of a special "Syntonic light therapy" program based on the viewing of certain colors produced by "color" filters.
In the Syntonic program, the "effective colors" are produced by passing light through standardized filters. The colors are then viewed by the individual.
While not truly narrow, the more effective colors tend to be narrower in bandwidth. Observation by vision specialists and other health care related practitioners of the influence of certain "colors" on various observable responses has and is developing most interesting and compelling information.
Had Doctor Spitler been able to use the new narrow band technology that we have today, his research and work would clearly have had far greater immediate impact.
Spitler was clearly "ahead of his time" in his observations, research, and thinking. Much is owed to Spitler and others working with Syntonics who were astute observers of visual performance, overall behavior, and health as it related to light and kept the practice and knowledge of "Syntonics" existent.
Today, the new narrow band technology is far beyond what was available to Spitler. Narrow ban light technology is more expensive, it is a clear advance in more precise and controlled use of light to influence homeostasis.
For photos of the Syntonic instrument click here
Scientists validate light therapy field of holistic medicine: light can halt pain
NaturalNews) The future of pain management in humans could eventually center less around what people take for their aches and pains and more around what they shine at them. Experimental new research at Stanford University's Bio-X laboratory has found that unconventional light therapy can be used to mitigate chronic pain without the need for pharmaceutical drugs, an amazing breakthrough that has the potential to completely change the way modern medicine deals with pain.
Published in the journal Nature Biotechnology, the new study on light therapy reveals that pain-sensing nerves inside the body can be manipulated to respond in different ways to varying types of light. The glow of a yellow light, for instance, was found to help alleviate pain in mice models, where special light-sensitive proteins known as opsins were injected into the mice and later activated by shining light on them.
"This is an entirely new approach to study a huge public health issue," says Stanford bioengineering professor and Bio-X lab director Scott Delp, lead author of the new study. "It's a completely new tool that is now available to neuroscientists everywhere."
Known as optogenetics, the technique of injecting light-sensitive proteins into the body for the purpose of later using them in therapy was developed by Delp's colleague Karl Deisseroth, who also helped co-author the new study. Deisseroth originally came up with the idea on accident but found that it could be used as a way to activate certain regions of the brain to better understand brain function. As it turns out, this also works in activating or deactivating nerve cells.
After injecting opsins into a group of test mice, Delp and Deisseroth noticed that different lights could be shined onto the mice's paws to induce different pain. Some color temperatures helped alleviate pain in the mice while others actually increased it, a phenomenon that the duo and their other co-authors believe could help explain why some people with no obvious injuries or other conditions suffer from inexplicable pain.
"The fact that we can give a mouse an injection and two weeks later shine a light on its paw to change the way it senses pain is very powerful," says Shrivats Iyer, a Stanford graduate student and co-author of the study.
Light therapy may be capable of completely eradicating all pain, suggests pain expert
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) pain policy adviser Linda Porter agrees, having told representatives from the institution that the findings hold powerful implications for patients with severe and debilitating nerve damage.
"This powerful approach shows great potential for helping the millions who suffer pain from nerve damage," she told Amy Adams for Stanford's "News" section. "Now, with a flick of a switch, scientists may be able to rapidly test new pain relieving medications and, one day, doctors may be able to use light to relieve pain."
Opsins have also been used in trials dealing with hunger as a way to both control and induce it. Deisseroth and his other colleague Kay M. Tye found that the same optogenetic techniques that work in the brain and nerves can also function as effectors of brain disease, while related research looked at how it might be able to treat alcoholism.
"Although no animal model captures human disease precisely, behaviours that recapitulate disease symptoms may be elicited and modulated by optogenetic methods, including behaviours that are relevant to anxiety, fear, depression, addiction, autism and parkinsonism," wrote Deisseroth in this earlier study.
"The rapid proliferation of optogenetic reagents together with the swift advancement of strategies for implementation has created new opportunities for causal and precise dissection of the circuits underlying brain diseases in animal models."
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