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Curr Alzheimer Res. 2017;14(10):1076-1083. doi: 10.2174/1567205014666170608092411.

Implementation of Dynamic Lighting in a Nursing Home: Impact on Agitation but not on Rest-Activity Patterns.

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Institute of Physiology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin (CBF), in St. Hedwig Krankenhaus, Grosse Hamburger Str. 5-7, 10115 Berlin. Germany.
Institute of Physiology, Charité Universitätsmedizin Berlin (CBF), Berlin. Germany.
Splitt Fennert Nursing Home, Berlin, Germany; 4German Heart Center, Berlin. Germany.



Disturbances of circadian rest-activity rhythms in demented patients often culminate in the clinical problem of evening and nighttime agitation. The aim of the current study was to test the impact of a dynamic lighting system on agitation and rest-activity cycles in patients with dementia.


From midwinter on, a ceiling mounted dynamic lighting system was installed in the common room of a nursing home and programmed to produce high illuminance with higher blue light proportions during the day and lower illuminance without blue light in the evening. Fifteen residents with dementia were regularly assessed with the Cohen Mansfield Agitation Index (CMAI) before and after the lighting intervention. Additionally rest-activity cycles were continuously monitored for 6 months by a wrist worn activity watch. Analysis of CMAI data was performed by using the Wilcoxon-Test for matched pairs (before vs. after the lighting installation). Rest-activity data was compared with t-tests for dependent samples. The dynamic lighting significantly reduced the CMAI sum-scores from 30.2±5.1 to 27.9±2.6 (mean ± SD; N = 12; p<0.05). Analysis of the CMAI subscores revealed that under the dynamic lighting mainly non-physically aggressive behaviors were reduced.


Results from the rest-activity analysis did not show differences of circadian amplitude and other circadian variables before and after the lighting installation. The dynamic lighting in the living room significantly reduced agitated behavior in demented patients, indicating short-term benefits from higher daily light exposures. Whether such lighting also impacts long-term (circadian) rest-activity cycles needs to be further investigated.


Agitation; circadian rhythms; dementia; light; light treatment; nursing home; rest-activity-pattern

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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