In Brief: Bright lights may improve dementia symptoms

In Brief

Bright lights may improve dementia symptoms

Elderly patients with dementia not only experience deterioration in their ability to think and reason, but also suffer from disturbances in mood, behavior, sleep, and overall ability to live independently. Five drugs are currently FDA-approved for the treatment of dementia, but they are at best only modestly effective at improving symptoms.

In a search for alternatives, researchers at the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience tested two novel treatments: bright overhead lights and melatonin, a hormone that helps regulate daily wake-and-sleep (circadian) rhythms.

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