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J Am Geriatr Soc. 2007 Nov;55(11):1817-24. Epub 2007 Oct 16.

The effect of ambient bright light therapy on depressive symptoms in persons with dementia.

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School of Nursing, Oregon Health & Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA.



To assess the effect of ambient bright light therapy on depressive symptoms in persons with dementia.


A cluster-unit crossover intervention trial involving four lighting conditions: morning bright light, evening bright light, all-day bright light, and standard light.


The common areas of two geriatric units in a state-operated psychiatric hospital in North Carolina and in a dementia-specific residential care facility in Oregon.


Sixty-six older adults with dementia.


Ambient bright light therapy was delivered through a high-intensity, low-glare lighting system installed in the public areas of study units at both sites. Each lighting condition was provided for multiple 3-week periods in a predetermined sequence.


Staff caregivers completed the Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia (CSDD) in the last week of each 3-week period to provide information about participants' moods.


Analysis indicated a sex-by-treatment interaction (P=.008). Significant sex differences were found in CSDD scores in response to evening light (P=.003), all-day light (P=.001), and standard light (P</=.001). Depressive symptoms were lowest for women and highest for men during morning light.


Findings do not support the use of ambient bright light therapy as a treatment for depressive symptoms in persons with dementia, although a subpopulation of persons with dementia may benefit from this intervention. It is likely that individual rather than unit-level interventions are a more effective strategy for delivering bright light therapy for this population.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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