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More news on light therapy.

Last month, I told you about how you can use light therapy to help you sleep. Since then, the Journal of the American Medical Association has published a new study showing that bright light therapy improved symptoms of dementia in a group of seniors in care facilities.

The researchers followed the participants (most were women) for three-and-a-half years and exposed them to daily doses of bright light and/or 2.5 mg of melatonin. Overhead bright lights were turned on from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

The bright light therapy slowed down the progression of cognitive decline by 5%. That's not much, but it's also not all the light therapy did. It also reduced depression by 19% and reduced functional limitations (getting around) by 53%. That's significant!

When they gave melatonin alone, the participants fell asleep more quickly, but they were moodier and more withdrawn. The answer was to combine light therapy with melatonin. This resulted in a reduction of aggression, better sleep, and a better memory.

The authors of this study suggest that whole-day exposure to bright overhead lights, along with melatonin, could improve symptoms of impaired cognition and sleep quality in people with dementia. One of the best ways to get this exposure is to use the Litebook, which I told you about last month. It's an easy way to get plenty of light, sleep better, and boost your memory. You can read all about it on my website (see page 6 for details). And you can order it by calling 800-728-2288.

Rixt F. Riemersma-van der Lek; Dick F. Swaab; Jos Twisk; Elly M. Hol; Witte J. G. Hoogendijk; Eus J. W. Van Someren. "Effect of Bright Light and Melatonin on Cognitive and Noncognitive Function in Elderly Residents of Group Care Facilities: A Randomized Controlled Trial." JAMA, 2008;299(22):2642-2655.
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Title Annotation:Nutrition Detective
Author:Fuchs, Nan Kathryn
Publication:Women's Health Letter
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2008
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