Popularized in France in 1920, the therapeutic use of natural light is widely used today in the treatment of depression, circadian rhythm disorders or insomnia. Called light therapy, this practice consists in exposing the eyes to a light whose intensity is close to that of the Sun, without ultraviolet rays, these being harmful for the skin and the cornea.
A study published in the journal American Academy Neurology and which will be presented at 72e annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (ANN) in Toronto (Canada) at the end of April, demonstrates that light therapy based on the use of blue light – not to be confused with blue light emitted by screens and harmful to the health – would be effective in fighting depression and concussions.
“Patients with mild traumatic brain injury, such as a concussion, often develop persistent problems associated with sleep, concentration, and depression, says the study’s lead author, William D. Killgore, of the University of Arizona (United States). Exposure to blue light in the morning has been shown to improve the body’s circadian rhythm of the sleep-wake cycle, which is linked to improved sleep, better mood and daytime alertness.. ”
Thirty-five people, average age 26, who have been diagnosed with a concussion in the past 18 months have been recruited. All used a light therapy lamp for 30 minutes each morning for six weeks. However, to really measure the consequences of this therapeutic practice, only 17 of them received real blue light.
The other 18 volunteers unknowingly exposed themselves to amber light, i.e. a placebo. Symptoms of depression and other concussions (sleep, memory, concentration, etc.) were analyzed in each participant at the start and end of the study.
As a result, symptoms of depression were lower in people exposed to blue light than the group who received a placebo. The scores, obtained thanks to the” Beck’s depression inventory (a 21-question multiple-choice questionnaire used to measure the severity of depression), we showed an improvement of 22% in the first group, against a worsening of mood of 4% in the group placebo. Improvements in sleep, concentration, and decreased agitation and irritability were also seen in participants exposed to blue light.
“These results confirm that blue light therapy can be an effective non-drug treatment for concussions, that improving depression can improve concussion symptoms, and therefore improve quality of life. ”, concluded William D. Killgore.
The impact of depression on quality of life
According to Inserm, “lhe characterized depressive disorder affects all ages of life. It concerns approximately 15 to 20% of the general population, over the whole life ”. One to five people have suffered or will suffer from depression during their lifetime. A person who is chronically depressed or going through a depressive episode may also suffer from sleep disorders, intense fatigue, problems with attention, concentration, memory or even mood.
These concussions have considerable repercussions on the quality of life of patients (reduced motivation, productivity, school failure, isolation, relationship problems, etc.).
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