Light therapy eases dementia symptoms

People suffering from senile dementia who are treated with light therapy have fewer problems with depression, according to research carried out in 12 Dutch nursing homes.

The results will be published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, the Volkskrant reports on Wednesday.
People with dementia lose control of their biological clock, sleep badly at night and catch up during the day, the paper says.
But experiments with light therapy involving almost 200 people, mainly women, showed a 19% reduction in symptoms of depression. And just over half of those exposed to strong light began doing more things for themselves, such as buttering bread, the paper reports. There was also a slight reduction in the loss of brain function.
‘Patients with dementia get all sorts of medication with unpleasant side-effects,’ researcher Eus van Someren told the Volkskrant. ‘Lots of light achieves the same result without those side-effects.’

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