Objectives: To investigate the effects of light therapy on cognition, depression, sleep, and circadian rhythms in a general, nonselected population of seniors living in a long term care facility.
Design: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial.
Setting: The experiment took place at a long term care facility in Pennsylvania.
Participants: Study participants (15 treatment, 13 placebo) were residents receiving either personal care or skilled nursing care.
Intervention: Treatment consisted of approximately 400 lux of blue light administered for 30 minutes per day, Monday through Friday, for 4 weeks. The placebo was approximately 75 lux of red light generated from the same device.
Measurements: Behavioral assessments were made using the MicroCog Assessment of Cognitive Functioning, Geriatric Depression Scale, and Profile of Mood States. Daytime sleepiness was evaluated using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale.
Results: Three of the 4 composite scores from the MicroCog as well as the mean Tension/Anxiety score from the Profile of Mood States showed a significant treatment versus placebo effect.
Conclusion: Blue light treatment led to significant cognitive improvements compared with placebo red light and may be a promising environmental intervention to reduce cognitive symptoms in elderly, long-term care residents.
Copyright © 2012 American Medical Directors Association, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.