Light Therapy for Alzheimer’s Shows Promise for Sleep and Behavior Issues

While light therapy has been used to treat depression (often in those with seasonal affective disorder), researchers are finding that it may also be a powerful approach to relieve symptoms related to Alzheimer’s disease.

A new scientific review of 15 randomized controlled trials involving nearly 600 patients with Alzheimer’s revealed that light therapy not only alleviated depression, it also reduced sleep troubles and agitated behavior (such as abnormal vocalization, restlessness, and repetitive movement).

“These findings combined with its low side effects suggest the role of light therapy as a promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease,” concluded Qinghui Meng, PhD, a professor in the school of nursing at Weifang Medical University in China, and her coauthors.

The study, published this week in the journal PLoS One, drew on trials conducted in seven different countries between 2005 and 2022, all related to light therapy intervention for Alzheimer’s disease. Most of the 598 participants had mild to moderate dementia, and they ranged in age from 60 to 85 years old.

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