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Lighting intervention improves sleep and mood for Alzheimer's patients

June 05, 2018

A tailored lighting intervention in nursing homes can positively impact sleep, mood and behavior for patients with Alzheimer's disease, according to preliminary findings from a new study.

People with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias may experience sleep problems, wandering, and associated daytime irritability. This study tested whether a tailored daytime lighting intervention could improve sleep and behavior in Alzheimer's patients living in long-term care facilities.

Compared to baseline and to the inactive lighting condition, the lighting intervention significantly decreased sleep disturbances, depression and agitation. While all measures improved, the most significant improvement was seen in sleep quality.

"Here we show that if the stimulus (light dose) is carefully delivered and measured, it can have a strong impact on sleep, depression and agitation," said principal investigator and lead author Mariana Figueiro, PhD, a professor and director at the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. "Depression was a secondary measure, and I was pleasantly surprised by the positive impact of the light treatment on depression scores."

The study involved 43 subjects diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and related dementias who were exposed to an active and inactive tailored lighting intervention for successive 4-week periods, spaced by a 4-week washout period. The lighting intervention was added to spaces in which patients spent most of their waking hours and was energized from wake time until 6 p.m. Calibrated personal light meters monitored exposures. Measures of sleep disturbances (Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index), mood (Cornell Scale for Depression in Dementia) and agitation (Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Index) were collected at baseline and during the last week of the intervention.

The research abstract was published recently in an online supplement of the journal Sleep and will be presented Tuesday, June 5, in Baltimore at SLEEP 2018, the 32nd annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC (APSS), which is a joint venture of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the Sleep Research Society.
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This study was funded by the National Institute on Aging, NIH grant #R01AG034157.

Note to reporters: The presentation at SLEEP 2018 includes data that have been updated since the abstract was submitted for publication.

Abstract Title: Tailored Lighting Intervention For Alzheimer's Patients And Its Effects On Sleep, Mood And Agitation

Abstract ID: 0295

Presentation Date: Tuesday, June 5

Poster Presentation: 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., Board 211

Presenter: Mariana Figueiro, PhD

For a copy of the abstract or to arrange an interview with the study author or an AASM spokesperson, please contact AASM Communications Coordinator Corinne Lederhouse at 630-737-9700, ext. 9366, or clederhouse@aasm.org.

About the American Academy of Sleep Medicine

Established in 1975, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) improves sleep health and promotes high quality, patient-centered care through advocacy, education, strategic research, and practice standards. The AASM has a combined membership of 10,000 accredited member sleep centers and individual members, including physicians, scientists and other health care professionals. For more information about sleep and sleep disorders, including a directory of AASM-accredited member sleep centers, visit http://www.sleepeducation.org.

American Academy of Sleep Medicine

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