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Alzheimer Patients Benefiting from LED Human Centric Lighting

When you think of the benefits of LED lighting, does Alzheimer’s treatment come to mind? Well now it should! LEDs have great monetary value, saving business owners and homeowners money with energy efficiency and long lifespans. Now, more and more research is being conducted in the field of LED human centric lighting to test the benefits LEDs may have on a person’s health. Human centric lighting (HCL) works to improve circadian rhythms, short and long term alertness, sleep, mood, visual acuity, perception and performance–productivity. HCL accomplishes these goals through varying lighting to mimic the sun’s position in the sky throughout the day, by changing colors to increase awareness or increase relaxation, etc… Studies have been conducted in hospitals, schools, office buildings and now nursing homes.

Researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) have found that LED lit tables are helping improve the lives of people suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease. The light from the tables has direct contact to the patient’s face and, by helping readjust their circadian rhythms, is helping them sleep better. The study revolving around the LED lit tables has also shown a decrease in depression and anxiety amongst patients as well.

RPI’s study was inspired by the lack of sunlight Alzheimer’s patients receive. Many people suffering from Alzheimer’s spend the majority of their days indoors, altering and confusing their circadian rhythms. While the institute has also taken to adjusting ceiling lights throughout the day as well, the LED lit tables provide a more direct dose of light aimed at the patient’s eyes. Now these two LED human centric lighting methods are working in tandem to improve the lives of Alzheimer’s patients.

When asked what inspired the decision to put on a twist on how LED light is delivered to the Alzheimer’s patients, lead researcher Mariana Figuerio stated,“Light can be used to consolidate sleep in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias, but the light delivery method is one of the greatest challenges for successful treatment. Based on our field observations, it was hypothesized that a self-luminous light table would be a practical way to deliver light because persons with Alzheimer’s disease typically spend a significant amount of time sitting at tables.”

The study, which took place at Albany County Nursing Home in New York, lasted four weeks and showed an increase in sleep as well as a decrease in depression and agitation in comparison to a baseline control week.

You may be wondering why increasing an Alzheimer’s patient’s sleep and lowering their depression helps their overall diagnosis. RPI stated that while lack of sleep is a very common issue in older adults, especially adults living in long-term care facilities, a link has been drawn between poor sleep patterns and a quicker onset and progression of Alzheimer’s Disease. Therefore, RPI believes healthier and longer sleep patterns in Alzheimer’s patients can help slow the progression of the disease. The institute is currently working on rolling out more LED human centric lighting tests to other long-term care facilities.

To learn more about how LEDs are changing the face of healthcare, check out our blog, LEDs in Hospitals: a New Wave in Healthcare, or give us a call today at (319) 653-2123 to learn more about LED human centric lighting.

Posted in Human Centric Lighting, LED Hospital Lighting