Light Emitting Tables Improve Health in Alzheimer’s Patients

Light nowadays is commonly thought to disrupt one’s circadian rhythms, thanks to phones, tablets, and televisions that can be watched late into the night. But, properly implemented, artificial light can also do the opposite.

Alzheimer’s patients and those who suffer from forms of dementia often do not go outdoors. As a result, they get inadequate levels of sunlight necessary to spur on their circadian cycles, which can result in depression or sleep problems. Researchers have studied the effects room lighting can have on patients. They tried to copy daylight hours by turning the lights to blue frequencies during mornings and afternoons and moving towards warmer colors during the evening and night. It worked okay, but one twist increased the efficiency.

Scientists at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute recently discovered that by using tables capable of shining light on the face of a patient with Alzheimer’s can help improve his or her sleep cycle and moods. Since these patients spend so much time sitting at tables, it was an obvious choice to install the lights in them. These direct doses, when used in tandem with the room lighting, proved to be more beneficial than just the lights around the room.

Sleep troubles are frequent among the elderly, and a possible and unfortunate side effect of poor sleep is the advancement of Alzheimer’s disease. Great sleep, however, can slow it down. Patients exposed to the light not only slept better, their depression and agitations levels also decreased over the course of a four-week trial period.

The institute put its first lighting table into the Albany County Nursing Home in Troy, New York, but, given the project’s initial success, it is likely to expand in the near future.

Konica Minolta Sensing provides luminance meters and luminance color meters, like the LS-150/160 and the CS-150/160 instruments, that measure the luminance and color of light tables accurately and efficiently. As nursing home and lighting technology moves forward, staying up to date with our equipment is essential to keep up with the growing industry.

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