Light therapy leads to significant improvements in sleep and psycho-behavioral symptoms for patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published this week in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Qinghui Meng of Weifang Medical University, China, and colleagues.
Lack of sleep has been associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline in patient's diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. In a meta-analysis of 598 patients, researchers found that light therapy significantly improved sleep efficiency, circadian rhythm stability, and helped improve psycho-behavioral symptoms in patients with AD, including depression and reduction in agitation. The authors add: "Light therapy improves sleep and psycho-behavioral symptoms in patients with Alzheimer's disease and has relatively few side effects, suggesting that it may be a promising treatment option for patients with Alzheimer's disease." These findings may pave the way for future research and the effect of sleep on the progression and behavioral variability of patients affected with Alzheimer's Disease. Hopefully reducing the burden on both the patients and caregivers as researchers continue to search for treatment options.