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Trends Neurosci. 2014 Jan;37(1):1-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tins.2013.10.004. Epub 2013 Nov 25.

Measuring and using light in the melanopsin age.

Author information

1
Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK. Electronic address: robert.lucas@manchester.ac.uk.
2
Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, University of Oxford, Headley Way, Oxford OX3 9DU, UK.
3
Department of Neuroscience, Brown University, Box G-LN, Providence, RI, USA.
4
Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.
5
INSERM 846 Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute, Department of Chronobiology, 18 Avenue du Doyen L├ępine, 69500 Bron, France.
6
Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard Medical School, and Division of Sleep Medicine, Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
7
Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180, USA.
8
Department of Ophthalmology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL 35294, USA.
9
Public Health England, Chilton, Didcot OX11 0RQ, UK.
10
Department of Biology, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA, USA.
11
Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, University of Surrey, Guildford GU2 7XH, UK.
12
Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philidelphia, PA, USA. Electronic address: George.Brainard@jefferson.edu.

Abstract

Light is a potent stimulus for regulating circadian, hormonal, and behavioral systems. In addition, light therapy is effective for certain affective disorders, sleep problems, and circadian rhythm disruption. These biological and behavioral effects of light are influenced by a distinct photoreceptor in the eye, melanopsin-containing intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs), in addition to conventional rods and cones. We summarize the neurophysiology of this newly described sensory pathway and consider implications for the measurement, production, and application of light. A new light-measurement strategy taking account of the complex photoreceptive inputs to these non-visual responses is proposed for use by researchers, and simple suggestions for artificial/architectural lighting are provided for regulatory authorities, lighting manufacturers, designers, and engineers.

PMID:
24287308
PMCID:
PMC4699304
DOI:
10.1016/j.tins.2013.10.004
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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