Pilot Study of the Effects of Bright Ambient Therapy on Dementia Symptoms and Cognitive Function

Front Psychol. 2021 Dec 24:12:782160. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2021.782160. eCollection 2021.


Light therapy potentially improves dementia symptoms. In this study, we examined the effects of bright light therapy on neuropsychiatric behaviors and cognitive function. Thirty-five participants were assigned to either the experimental or comparison group. The experimental group was exposed to bright light at 2,500 lux, and the comparison group was exposed to 114-307 lux. The instruments used were the Neuropsychiatric Inventory and the Mini-Mental State Examination. The experimental group showed a significant improvement in Neuropsychiatric Inventory scores; these scores, which were calculated using generalized estimating equations with medication (benzodiazepines) as a covariate, were reduced by 65% (P < 0.001) and 78% (P = 0.001) by the 5th and 9th weeks, respectively. At the same time, Mini-Mental State Examination scores increased by 19% (P = 0.007) and 28% (P = 0.04), respectively. However, differences in outcomes between the 5th and 9th weeks were not significant. A 4-week regimen of bright light therapy was the most effective, with higher adherence and acceptability.

Keywords: behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia; bright light therapy; cognitive function; dementia; light therapy.