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Light Res Technol. 2015 Apr;47(2):161-176.

Effect of home-based light treatment on persons with dementia and their caregivers.

Author information

1
Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA ; Department of Family Medicine, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
2
Lighting Research Center, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY, USA.
3
Department of Ophthalmology, School of Medicine, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
4
Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
5
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
6
Cecil G. Sheps Center for Health Services Research, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA ; School of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.

Abstract

Sleep disorders are problematic for persons with dementia and their family caregivers. This randomized controlled trial with crossover evaluated the effects of an innovative blue-white light therapy on 17 pairs of home-dwelling persons with dementia and their caregivers. Subjects with dementia received blue-white light and control ('red-yellow' light) for six weeks separated by a four-week washout. Neither actigraphic nor most self-reported sleep measures significantly differed for subjects with dementia. For caregivers, both sleep and role strain improved. No evidence of retinal light toxicity was observed. Six weeks of modest doses of blue-white light appear to improve sleep in caregivers but not in persons with dementia. Greater or prolonged circadian stimulation may be needed to determine if light is an effective treatment for persons with dementia.

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