Light treatment for neuropsychiatric behaviors in Alzheimer's Disease

University of California, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Western Journal of Nursing Research (Impact Factor: 1.38). 01/2008; 29(8):961-75. DOI: 10.1177/0193945907303083
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Neuropsychiatric behaviors are common in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and make both professional and lay caregiving difficult. Light therapy has been somewhat successful in ameliorating disruptive behaviors. This randomized trial tested the effects of morning or afternoon bright light exposure compared with usual indoor light on the presence, frequency, severity, and occupational disruptiveness of neuropsychiatric behaviors in nursing home residents with AD. Light was administered for 1 hr daily (Monday-Friday) for 10 weeks. The Neuropsychiatric Inventory-Nursing Home was used to assess behavior at baseline and end of the intervention. Analyses revealed statistically significant differences between groups on agitation/aggression, depression/dysphoria, aberrant motor behavior, and appetite/eating disorders. The magnitude of change was small and may not represent clinically significant findings. Agitation/aggression and nighttime behaviors commonly occurred and were highly correlated with occupational disruptiveness. Interventions that decrease the presence and/or severity of neuropsychiatric behaviors have the potential to significantly decrease caregiver burden.

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Available from: Erin M Hubbard, Aug 11, 2014
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    • "The effects of light therapy on agitation were also shown in those with vascular dementia, the second most common type of dementia [56]. Dowling and colleagues [57] found that exposing persons with ADRD to bright light at 2500 lux at varying times of day had diverse effects on aggressive behaviors. While both morning and afternoon exposures were successful in significantly altering the levels of aggressive behaviors, specifically agitation, depression , aberrant motor behavior, and appetite, the timing of treatment was of great importance in the outcome of treatment. "
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    • "Importantly, a study with substance-abusing adolescents indicated that improved sleep time resulted in a significant reduction in aggressive thoughts and actions [57]. In demented patients, a significant reduction of aggression was observed following 10 weeks of LT [58]. Thus, we hypothesize that corrected sleep and LT treatment might not only contribute to enhancements in emotional functioning, but also to beneficial influences on behavior, a desirable outcome for youth with SMD. "
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