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Effect of Light Color Temperature on Human Concentration and Creativity

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Abstract

Light has different biological effects depending on the color temperature and intensity. This may be the reason for its differing effects. We investigated the influence of color temperature (3000 K, 4500 K, 6000 K) under constant high intensity (1000 Lux) on concentration and creativity of 50 students and employees of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences, Campus Gummersbach (age: 30.9 +/- 10.8y.). As test method we used d2-bq-test, creativity test (mean of the number of ideas on 5 themes), word test and logic test. In addition, test subjects were asked to evaluate their impression of light by means of a questionnaire. To exclude the circadian influence and learning effects on the result, we performed tests at the same time of the day using a random order of color temperature. We found that creativity was better under warm light (3000 K) than under colder light (4500 K, 6000 K). Concentration was best under cold light (6000 K). Under the same light intensity conditions, subjects judged blue light (6000 K) to be brighter than red light (3000 K). © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York.

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... Exposure to different wavelengths, for example, may have a positive effect on learners' alertness and thus enhance their cognitive performances [42]. In addition, the level of concentration of learners could be improved with the help of color temperature and intensity [43,44]. ...
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... Daylight exposure to high CCT was confirmed to be advantageous for cognitive abilities and reduction of fatigue (Hawes et al. 2012;Ferlazzo et al. 2014) as well as sustained attention (Keis et al. 2014). However, Weitbrecht et al. (2015) observed opposite results when they investigated the effect of color temperature on creativity and concentration. They tested three color temperatures (3000 K, 4500 K and 6000 K) under a high illuminance level of 1000 lx. ...
Chapter
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To analyse how age-related losses in crystalline lens transmittance and pupillary area affect circadian photoreception and compare the circadian performance of phakic and pseudophakic individuals of the same age. The spectral sensitivity of circadian photoreception peaks in the blue part of the spectrum at approximately 460 nm. Photosensitive retinal ganglion cells send unconscious information about environmental illumination to non-visual brain centres including the human body's master biological clock in the suprachiasmatic nuclei. This information permits human physiology to be optimised and aligned with geophysical day-night cycles using neural and hormonal messengers including melatonin. Age-related transmittance spectra of crystalline lenses and photopic pupil diameter are used with the spectral sensitivity of melatonin suppression and the transmittance spectra of intraocular lenses (IOLs) to analyse how ageing and IOL chromophores affect circadian photoreception. Ageing increases crystalline lens light absorption and decreases pupil area resulting in progressive loss of circadian photoreception. A 10-year-old child has circadian photoreception 10-fold greater than a 95-year-old phakic adult. A 45-year-old adult retains only half the circadian photoreception of early youth. Pseudophakia improves circadian photoreception at all ages, particularly with UV-only blocking IOLs which transmit blue wavelengths optimal for non-visual photoreception. Non-visual retinal ganglion photoreceptor responses to bright, properly timed light exposures help assure effective circadian photoentrainment and optimal diurnal physiological processes. Circadian photoreception can persist in visually blind individuals if retinal ganglion cell photoreceptors and their suprachiasmatic connections are intact. Retinal illumination decreases with ageing due to pupillary miosis and reduced crystalline lens light transmission especially of short wavelengths. Inadequate environmental light and/or ganglion photoreception can cause circadian disruption, increasing the risk of insomnia, depression, numerous systemic disorders and possibly early mortality. Artificial lighting is dimmer and less blue-weighted than natural daylight, contributing to age-related losses in unconscious circadian photoreception. Optimal intraocular lens design should consider the spectral requirements of both conscious and unconscious retinal photoreception.
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Following the previous studies on the influence of light with different wavelengths on human biological rhythms during nighttime, present experiments were conducted to investigate the influence of morning light on the behavior of the core temperature and melatonin in humans. The experiments were carried out in four subjects with normal color vision. The subjects were exposed between 4:00 h to 9:00 h to red, green and blue light of 1,000 lux and 2,500 lux, and with an incandescent light of 50 lux as control. The main results were as follows: No differences in the behavior of core temperature and melatonin were found under the influences of red, green and blue light of 1,000 lux and the control light of 50 lux. On the other hand, a tendency to promote the increase of core temperature and the fall of melatonin secretion was found after exposure to green light of 2,500 lux, compared with control and red light. These results indicate that the behavior of core temperature and melatonin differs according to the wavelength of light, and that the phenomenon arises with morning as well as nocturnal irradiation. However, the intensity of light required to bring about the phenomenon seems to be different between morning and evening; an irradiation of 1,000 lux x 5h at night in the previous report, and one of 2,500 lux x 5h in the morning in the present experiments, were found to be necessary for green light to cause the effects.
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Different wavelengths of light were compared for melatonin suppression and phase shifting of the salivary melatonin rhythm. The wavelengths compared were 660 nm (red), 595 nm (amber), 525 nm (green), 497 nm (blue/green), and 470 nm (blue). They were administered with light-emitting diodes equated for irradiance of 130 muW/cm2. Fifteen volunteers participated in all five wavelength conditions and a no light control condition, with each condition conducted over two consecutive evenings. Half-hourly saliva sam ples were collected from 19:00 to 02:00 on night 1 and until 01:00 on night 2. Light was administered for the experimental conditions on the first night only from midnight to 02:00. Percentage melatonin suppression on night 1 and dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) for each night were calculated. The shorter wavelengths of 470, 497, and 525 nm showed the greatest melatonin suppression, 65% to 81%. The shorter wavelengths also showed the greatest DLMO delay on night 2, ranging from 27 to 36 min. The results were consistent with the involvement of a scotopic mechanism in the regulation of circadian phase.
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Light can elicit acute physiological and alerting responses in humans, the magnitude of which depends on the timing, intensity, and duration of light exposure. Here, we report that the alerting response of light as well as its effects on thermoregulation and heart rate are also wavelength dependent. Exposure to 2 h of monochromatic light at 460 nm in the late evening induced a significantly greater melatonin suppression than occurred with 550-nm monochromatic light, concomitant with a significantly greater alerting response and increased core body temperature and heart rate ( approximately 2.8 x 10(13) photons/cm(2)/sec for each light treatment). Light diminished the distal-proximal skin temperature gradient, a measure of the degree of vasoconstriction, independent of wavelength. Nonclassical ocular photoreceptors with peak sensitivity around 460 nm have been found to regulate circadian rhythm function as measured by melatonin suppression and phase shifting. Our findings-that the sensitivity of the human alerting response to light and its thermoregulatory sequelae are blue-shifted relative to the three-cone visual photopic system-indicate an additional role for these novel photoreceptors in modifying human alertness, thermophysiology, and heart rate.
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We developed a non-invasive method to measure and quantify human circadian PER2 gene expression in oral mucosa samples and show that this gene oscillates in a circadian (= about a day) fashion. We also have the first evidence that induction of human PER2 expression is stimulated by exposing subjects to 2 h of light in the evening. This increase in PER2 expression was statistically significant in comparison to a non-light control condition only after light at 460 nm (blue) but not after light exposure at 550 nm (green). Our results indicate that the non-image-forming visual system is involved in human circadian gene expression. The demonstration of a functional circadian machinery in human buccal samples and its response to light opens the door for investigation of human circadian rhythms at the gene level and their associated disorders.
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Light exposure at night increases alertness; however, it is not clear if light affects nocturnal alertness in the same way that it affects measures of circadian regulation. The purpose of this study was to determine if a previously established functional relationship between light and nocturnal melatonin suppression was the same as that relating light exposure and nocturnal alertness. Four levels of narrow-band blue light at the cornea were presented during nighttime sessions. The ratio of electroencephalographic alpha power density with eyes closed to eyes open (alpha attenuation coefficient, AAC) and the Norris mood scale were used. The AAC and ratings of alertness increased monotonically with irradiance and were highly correlated. Both measures of alertness were highly correlated with model predictions of nocturnal melatonin suppression for the same circadian light stimulus, consistent with the inference that the suprachiasmatic nuclei play an important role in nocturnal alertness as well as circadian regulation.
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The relative contribution of rods, cones, and melanopsin to non-image-forming (NIF) responses under light conditions differing in irradiance, duration, and spectral composition remains to be determined in humans. NIF responses to a polychromatic light source may be very different to that predicted from the published human action spectra data, which have utilized narrow band monochromatic light and demonstrated short wavelength sensitivity. To test the hypothesis that only melanopsin is driving NIF responses in humans, monochromatic blue light (lambda(max) 479 nm) was matched with polychromatic white light for total melanopsin-stimulating photons at three light intensities. The ability of these light conditions to suppress nocturnal melatonin production was assessed. A within-subject crossover design was used to investigate the suppressive effect of nocturnal light on melatonin production in a group of diurnally active young male subjects aged 18-35 yrs (24.9+/-3.8 yrs; mean+/-SD; n=11). A 30 min light pulse, individually timed to occur on the rising phase of the melatonin rhythm, was administered between 23:30 and 01:30 h. Regularly timed blood samples were taken for measurement of plasma melatonin. Repeated measures two-way ANOVA, with irradiance and light condition as factors, was used for statistical analysis (n=9 analyzed). There was a significant effect of both light intensity (p<0.001) and light condition (p<0.01). Polychromatic light was more effective at suppressing nocturnal melatonin than monochromatic blue light matched for melanopsin stimulation, implying that the melatonin suppression response is not solely driven by melanopsin. The findings suggest a stimulatory effect of the additional wavelengths of light present in the polychromatic light, which could be mediated via the stimulation of cone photopigments and/or melanopsin regeneration. The results of this study may be relevant to designing the spectral composition of polychromatic lights for use in the home and workplace, as well as in the treatment of circadian rhythm disorders.
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Background: Previously, we reported improvements in sleep quality and gait speed after implantation of a yellow-colored, blue light-blocking intra-ocular lens (IOL). This study evaluated systemic health parameters for 7 months after cataract surgery with implantation of a clear, ultraviolet (UV)-blocking IOL. Methods: A total of consecutive 71 patients (average age 74.1 years) underwent cataract surgery with the implantation of a clear, UV-blocking IOL. Participants were evaluated using the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI) and the National Eye Institute Visual Function Questionnaire (VFQ-25) before and at 2 and 7 months after surgery. Four-meter gait speed was also determined. The metabolic parameters of serum glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c), triglycerides (TGs), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) were tested. Results: The pre-operative and post-operative (2 and 7 months after surgery) results were 66.4±16.5, 79.5±12.6, and 81.0±13.0 for VFQ-25 score, 5.7±3.5, 5.1±3.1, and 4.8±2.9 for PSQI, and 0.90±0.22, 0.91±0.22, and 0.92±0.22 meters/sec for gait speed. Significant improvements following surgery were noted in the VFQ-25 score for all cases and in the PSQI for poor sleepers (preoperative PSQI >5.5) (P<0.05, paired t-test). The gait speed and metabolic parameters showed no significant changes. Conclusions: Cataract surgery with implantation of an UV-blocking clear IOL has the potential for improving circadian rhythm and systemic health parameters.
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Previous studies have demonstrated short-wavelength sensitivity for the acute alerting response to nocturnal light exposure. We assessed daytime spectral sensitivity in alertness, performance, and waking electroencephalogram (EEG). Between-subjects (n = 8 per group). Inpatient intensive physiologic monitoring unit. Sixteen healthy young adults (mean age ± standard deviation = 23.8 ± 2.7 y). Equal photon density exposure (2.8 × 10(13) photons/cm(2)/s) to monochromatic 460 nm (blue) or 555 nm (green) light for 6.5 h centered in the middle of the 16-h episode of wakefulness during the biological day. Results were compared retrospectively to 16 individuals who were administered the same light exposure during the night. Daytime and nighttime 460-nm light exposure significantly improved auditory reaction time (P < 0.01 and P < 0.05, respectively) and reduced attentional lapses (P < 0.05), and improved EEG correlates of alertness compared to 555-nm exposure. Whereas subjective sleepiness ratings did not differ between the two spectral conditions during the daytime (P > 0.05), 460-nm light exposure at night significantly reduced subjective sleepiness compared to 555-nm light exposure at night (P < 0.05). Moreover, nighttime 460-nm exposure improved alertness to near-daytime levels. The alerting effects of short-wavelength 460-nm light are mediated by counteracting both the circadian drive for sleepiness and homeostatic sleep pressure at night, but only via reducing the effects of homeostatic sleep pressure during the day. Rahman SA; Flynn-Evans EE; Aeschbach D; Brainard GC; Czeisler CA; Lockley SW. Diurnal spectral sensitivity of the acute alerting effects of light. SLEEP 2014;37(2):271-281.
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The present study examined effects of a short nap (20 min) and/or bright light (2000 lux) on visual search and implicit learning in a contextual cueing task. Fifteen participants performed a contextual cueing task twice a day (1200-1330 h and 1430-1600 h) and scored subjective sleepiness before and after a short afternoon nap or a break period. Participants served a total of four experimental conditions (control, short nap, bright light and short nap with bright light). During the second task, bright light treatment (BLT) was applied in the two of the four conditions. Participants performed both tasks in a dimly lit environment except during the light treatment. Results showed that a short nap reduced subjective sleepiness and improved visual search time, but it did not affect implicit learning. Bright light reduced subjective sleepiness. A short nap in the afternoon could be a countermeasure against sleepiness and an enhancer for visual search. Practitioner Summary: The study examined effects of a short afternoon nap (20 min) and/or bright light (2000 lux) on visual search and implicit learning. A short nap is a powerful countermeasure against sleepiness compared to bright light exposure in the afternoon.
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The study presents an investigation of the influence of the color of light on readability by figure to background value contrast, color perception, and overall room-light estimation for elderly consumers in an experimental setting representing a retail store. A factorial design with repeated measures was used to identify the impact of three independent variables: (a) lamp color temperatures, (b) lamp color-rendering properties, and (c) age of the participants. The results show that older adults perceived the higher color temperature light source as less cool than did younger adults. Older adults rated their level of comfort and preference higher than the younger participants under all lighting conditions. Regarding readability, higher color-rendering light sources provide better readability, and older adults have more difficulty with warmer lighting when value contrasts were reduced. Implications from this study can be applied to retail lighting techniques to attract elderly consumers.
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Two portable light sources, comprising light emitting diodes (LEDs) of two different wavelengths, were compared to a standard light box in suppressing and phase shifting nocturnal salivary melatonin. All light sources were equated for illuminance of 2000 lux. Sixty-six volunteers participated in the 2-day study and were randomly allocated to one of four conditions; light box, white LED, blue/green LED, or no light control group. Light was administered to the experimental groups from midnight to 02.00 hr on the first night. Half-hourly saliva samples were collected from 19.00 to 02.00 hr on night 1 and until 01.00 hr on night 2. Percent melatonin suppression on night 1 and dim light melatonin onset (DLMO) for each night were calculated. The experimental groups showed significant melatonin suppression during light stimulation, with the blue/green LEDs producing the greatest (70%) suppression. There was no significant difference between the light box at 63% and white LED at 50% suppression. Similarly, the blue/green LED had a significantly greater DLMO delay of 42 min and no difference between the light box of 23 min and the white LED of 22 min. These data suggest the portable LED light source is an effective way of delivering light to phase shift the melatonin rhythm, with the blue/green LED being the more effective of the two LEDs.
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Purpose: Photoentrainment of circadian rhythm begins with the stimulation of melanopsin containing retinal ganglion cells that respond directly to blue light. With age, the human lens becomes a strong colour filter attenuating transmission of short wavelengths. The purpose of the study was to examine the effect the ageing human lens may have for the photoentrainment of circadian rhythm and to compare with intraocular implant lenses (IOLs) designed to block UV radiation, violet or blue light. Methods: The potential for photoentrainment of circadian rhythm was computed for 29 human donor lenses (18-76 years) and five IOLs (one UV, two violet and two blue light blocking) based on the transmission properties of the lenses and the spectral characteristics of melanopsin activation and two of it's physiological outcomes; melanopsin-driven pupillary light reponse and light-induced melatonin suppression. Results: The potential for melanopsin stimulation and melatonin suppression was reduced by 0.6-0.7 percentage point per year of life because of yellowing of the natural lens. The computed effects were small for the IOLs and did not exceed that of a 22.2-year-old natural lens for the blue-blocking IOLs. Conclusion: The results show that photoentrainment of circadian rhythm may be significantly impaired in older subjects because of the colour filtering characteristics of the human lens, whereas the effects were small for all three types of IOLs studied. Consequently, the ageing process of the natural lens is expected to influence the photoentrainment of circadian rhythm, whereas IOLs are not expected to be detrimental to circadian rhythm.
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The human eye is constantly exposed to sunlight and artificial lighting. Light transmission through the eye is fundamental to its unique biological functions of directing vision and circadian rhythm, and therefore, light absorbed by the eye must be benign. However, exposure to the intense ambient radiation can pose a hazard particularly if the recipient is over 40 years of age. This radiation exposure can lead to impaired vision and transient or permanent blindness.Both ultraviolet-A (UV-A) and UV-B induce cataract formation and are not necessary for sight. Ultraviolet radiation is also a risk factor for damage to the retinas of children. The removal of these wavelengths from ocular exposure will greatly reduce the risk of early cataract and retinal damage. One way this may be easily done is by wearing sunglasses that block wavelengths below 400 nm (marked 400 on the glasses). However, because of the geometry of the eye, these glasses must be wraparound sunglasses to prevent reflective UV radiation from reaching the eye. Additional protection may be offered by contact lenses that absorb significant amounts of UV radiation.In addition to UV radiation, short blue visible light (400-440 nm) is a risk factor for the adult human retina. This wavelength of light is not essential for sight and not necessary for a circadian rhythm response. For those over 50 years old, it would be of value to remove these wavelengths of light with specially designed sunglasses or contact lenses to reduce the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
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Affective disorder during pregnancy is a common condition requiring careful judgment to treat the depression while minimizing risk to the fetus. Following up on promising pilot trials, we studied the efficacy of light therapy. Twenty-seven pregnant women with nonseasonal major depressive disorder according to DSM-IV (outpatients, university polyclinic) were randomly assigned to 7,000 lux fluorescent bright white or 70 lux dim red (placebo) light administered at home in the morning upon awakening for 1 h/d in a 5-week double-blind trial carried out between October 2004 and October 2008. Clinical state was monitored weekly with the 29-item Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) with Atypical Depression Supplement (SIGH-ADS). Changes of rating scale scores over time were analyzed with the general linear model. Differences from baseline of SIGH-ADS and 17-item HDRS scores at every time point were the dependent variables, time was the within-subjects factor, and treatment was the between-subjects factor. The model also included baseline score of depression and gestational age at intervention start. The superiority of bright light over dim light placebo was shown for both SIGH-ADS (R² = 0.251; F(3,23) = 3.91; P < .05) and HDRS (R² = 0.338; F(3,23) = 5.42; P < .01) when analyzing the week-by-week change from baseline, and HDRS scores showed a significant interaction of treatment with time (F(4,92) = 2.91; P < .05). Categorical analysis revealed that the response rate (HDRS ≥ 50% improvement) at week 5 was significantly greater for bright light (81.3%, n = 16) than for placebo light (45.5%, n = 11) (P < .05). Remission (final score ≤ 8) was attained by 68.6% versus 36.4%, respectively (P < .05). Expectation ratings did not differ significantly between groups. Bright white light treatment for 5 weeks improved depression during pregnancy significantly more than placebo dim red light. The study provides evidence that light therapy, a simple, cost-effective antidepressant modality with minimal side effects for the mother and no known risk for the unborn child, may be a useful nonpharmacologic approach in this difficult situation. clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01043289.
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Light suppresses melatonin in humans, with the strongest response occurring in the short-wavelength portion of the spectrum between 446 and 477 nm that appears blue. Blue monochromatic light has also been shown to be more effective than longer-wavelength light for enhancing alertness. Disturbed circadian rhythms and sleep loss have been described as risk factors for astronauts and NASA ground control workers, as well as civilians. Such disturbances can result in impaired alertness and diminished performance. Prior to exposing subjects to short-wavelength light from light-emitting diodes (LEDs) (peak λ = 469 nm; 1/2 peak bandwidth = 26 nm), the ocular safety exposure to the blue LED light was confirmed by an independent hazard analysis using the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists exposure limits. Subsequently, a fluence-response curve was developed for plasma melatonin suppression in healthy subjects (n = 8; mean age of 23.9 ± 0.5 years) exposed to a range of irradiances of blue LED light. Subjects with freely reactive pupils were exposed to light between 2:00 and 3:30 AM. Blood samples were collected before and after light exposures and quantified for melatonin. The results demonstrate that increasing irradiances of narrowband blue-appearing light can elicit increasing plasma melatonin suppression in healthy subjects (P < 0.0001). The data were fit to a sigmoidal fluence-response curve (R(2) = 0.99; ED(50) = 14.19 μW/cm(2)). A comparison of mean melatonin suppression with 40 μW/cm(2) from 4,000 K broadband white fluorescent light, currently used in most general lighting fixtures, suggests that narrow bandwidth blue LED light may be stronger than 4,000 K white fluorescent light for suppressing melatonin.
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Ultradian rhythms in indices of brain hemisphere activity and in cognitive performance have been found in numerous studies. Asymmetry of these rhythms with regard to phase and frequency have also been documented in some studies. There is some evidence that bright light can affect ultradian rhythms of arousal state and vigilance. A study on unilateral exposure to bright light has demonstrated more pronounced effects of bright light on the right hemisphere. The aim of this study was to examine whether daytime intermittent bright light could affect parameters of ultradian rhythms in performance speed on hemisphere-specific tasks, and whether the effect of bright light was symmetric for the rhythms in performance on hemisphere-specific tasks presented laterally. A counter-balanced, within-subject research design was applied. The performance of 15 participants on hemisphere-specific tasks exposed laterally was measured every 30 min starting at 08:00 h and ending at 20:30 h in intermittent bright light (IBL, pulses of 15 min of 4000 lux light regularly interspersed between 45 min of background light levels of 300 lux) and in ordinary room light (ORL) conditions (300 lux). Individual time series data were subjected to cosinor analysis. General linear model analyses (the factors were: level of processing, visual field, and the task) were performed on the rhythms' parameters. There was a substantial lengthening of the rhythms' periods in IBL conditions for performance speed on spatial tasks and an increase in amplitude of the rhythms of performance speed for spatial tasks in both visual fields and for verbal tasks in the left visual field in the IBL conditions when compared to the ORL conditions. The results showed that the schedule of light exposure affected ultradian rhythms of hemisphere-specific tasks differently and that the right hemisphere seems to be more "sensitive" to light than the left hemisphere.
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Bright light at night paired with darkness during the day seem to facilitate adaptation to night work. Considering the biological clock sensitive to short wavelengths, we investigated the possibility of adaptation in shift workers exposed to blue-green light at night, combined with using blue-blockers during the day. Four sawmill shift workers were evaluated during two weeks of night shifts (control and experimental) and one week of day shifts. Throughout the experimental week, ambient light (approximately 130 lx) was supplemented with blue-green light (200 lx) from 00:00 h to: 05:00 h on Monday and Tuesday, 06:00 h on Wednesday and 07:00 h on Thursday. Blue-blockers had to be worn outside from the end of the night shift until 16:00 h. For circadian assessment, salivary melatonin profiles were obtained between 00:00 h and 08:00 h, before and after 4 experimental night shifts. Sleep was continuously monitored with actigraphy and subjective vigilance was measured at the beginning, the middle and the end of each night and day shifts. The error percentage in wood board classification was used as an index of performance. Through experimental week, melatonin profiles of 3 participants have shifted by at least 2 hours. Improvements were observed in sleep parameters and subjective vigilance from the third night (Wednesday) as performance increased on the fourth night (Thursday) from 5.14% to 1.36% of errors (p=0.04). Strategic exposure to short wavelengths at night, and/or daytime use of blue-blocker glasses, seemed to improve sleep, vigilance and performance.
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In humans, modulation of circadian rhythms by light is thought to be mediated primarily by melanopsin-containing retinal ganglion cells, not rods or cones. Melanopsin cells are intrinsically blue light-sensitive but also receive input from visual photoreceptors. We therefore tested in humans whether cone photoreceptors contribute to the regulation of circadian and neuroendocrine light responses. Dose-response curves for melatonin suppression and circadian phase resetting were constructed in subjects exposed to blue (460 nm) or green (555 nm) light near the onset of nocturnal melatonin secretion. At the beginning of the intervention, 555-nm light was equally effective as 460-nm light at suppressing melatonin, suggesting a significant contribution from the three-cone visual system (lambda(max) = 555 nm). During the light exposure, however, the spectral sensitivity to 555-nm light decayed exponentially relative to 460-nm light. For phase-resetting responses, the effects of exposure to low-irradiance 555-nm light were too large relative to 460-nm light to be explained solely by the activation of melanopsin. Our findings suggest that cone photoreceptors contribute substantially to nonvisual responses at the beginning of a light exposure and at low irradiances, whereas melanopsin appears to be the primary circadian photopigment in response to long-duration light exposure and at high irradiances. These results suggest that light therapy for sleep disorders and other indications might be optimized by stimulating both photoreceptor systems.
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Environmental illumination profoundly influences human health and well-being. Recently discovered photoreceptive retinal ganglion cells (pRGCs) are primary mediators of numerous circadian, neuroendocrine and neurobehavioral responses. pRGCs provide lighting information to diverse nonvisual (non-image-forming) brain centers including the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) which serve as the body's master biological clock. The SCN exert functional control over circadian aspects of physiology. The timing and strength (amplitude) of SCN rhythmic signals are affected by light exposure. Light deficiency may attenuate SCN function and its control of physiological and hormonal rhythms which in turn can result in a cascade of adverse events. Inadequate pRGC photoreception cannot be perceived consciously, but may aggravate many common age-associated problems including insomnia, depression and impaired cognition. In this review we (1) summarize circadian physiology, emphasizing light's critical role as the most important geophysical timing cue in humans; (2) analyze evidence that typical residential lighting is insufficient for optimal pRGC requirements in youth and even more so with advancing age; (3) show how ocular aging and cataract surgery impact circadian photoreception; and (4) review some of the diverse morbidities associated with chronodisruption in general and those which may be caused by light deficiency in particular.
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Light elicits non-visual effects on a wide range of biological functions and behavior. These effects are mediated by a melanopsin-based photoreceptor system that is very sensitive to blue light (440-480 nm) relative to the three-cone visual photopic system. The aim of the current study was to assess the time-of-day-dependent effects of two different wavelength monochromatic lights at 458 nm and 550 nm on human cognitive function. We conducted an experiment in the daytime and nighttime on different days. Twelve subjects were selected, none of whom was either morning-type or evening-type, as assessed by a translated version of the morningness/eveningness questionnaire. The cognitive function was measured by event-related potential (ERP) using an oddball task, and arousal level was measured by the Alpha Attenuation Test (AAT). We found that 458 nm light exposure caused a significantly larger P300 amplitude than occurred with 550 nm light. There was a significant interaction among wavelength, time of day, and electrode site. Exposure to 458 nm light induced a larger P300 amplitude at nighttime than in the daytime at the Fz electrode site. The Alpha Attenuation Coefficient (AAC) at nighttime was higher than in the daytime. Our results suggest that short wavelength monochromatic light can affect the circadian rhythms of cognitive functions, and indicate that these effects are mediated by a melanopsin-based photoreceptor system. This study has extended previous findings in terms of time of day, and higher cognitive function by using an endogenous ERP component, P300.
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Humans are a diurnal species usually exposed to light while engaged in cognitive tasks. Light not only guides performance on these tasks through vision but also exerts non-visual effects that are mediated in part by recently discovered retinal ganglion cells maximally sensitive to blue light. We review recent neuroimaging studies which demonstrate that the wavelength, duration and intensity of light exposure modulate brain responses to (non-visual) cognitive tasks. These responses to light are initially observed in alertness-related subcortical structures (hypothalamus, brainstem, thalamus) and limbic areas (amygdala and hippocampus), followed by modulations of activity in cortical areas, which can ultimately affect behaviour. Light emerges as an important modulator of brain function and cognition.
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The circadian melatonin rhythm is highly reproducible and generally not easily altered. The few perturbations that are capable of significantly changing either the amplitude or the pattern of the 24-h melatonin rhythm are summarized herein. Aging alters cyclic melatonin production by decreasing the amplitude of the nocturnal melatonin peak in all species in which it has been studied. The best known acute suppressor of nocturnal melatonin is light exposure. The brightness of light required to acutely depress pineal melatonin production is species dependent; of the visible wavelengths, those in the blue range (approximately 500-520 nm) seem most effective in suppressing melatonin production. Nonvisible, nonionizing radiation in the extremely low frequency range (e.g., 60 Hz) seems also capable of altering pineal melatonin synthesis. Hormones have relatively little influence on the circadian production of melatonin, although either adrenalectomy or hypophysectomy does attenuate the amplitude of the melatonin cycle. Exercise at the time of high melatonin production rapidly depresses pineal concentrations of the indole without influencing its synthesis; the mechanism of this suppression remains unknown.
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A variety of types of artificial illumination has recently become available, differing in the quality of illumination and range of color temperature. In our previous studies we found that in subjects with normal color vision the nocturnal fall in core temperature and the increase of urinary melatonin excretion were suppressed by bright blue or green light, but not by bright red or dim lights. The aim of our present study was to examine from the view point of chronobiology whether the lights of different color temperature often used in everyday life may affect core temperature and urinary melatonin secretion differently. Experiments were carried out on five subjects with normal color vision. They were exposed for 5 hr (from 21:00 h to 2:00 h) to two kinds of bright (1000 lx) light of different color temperature (6500 K, 3000 K) with dim (50 lx) light as a control; after exposure they slept in darkness. Our main results were as follows: The light with a high color temperature of 6500 K more strongly suppressed the nocturnal fall of the core temperature and the nocturnal increase of melatonin secretion than the light with a low color temperature of 3000 K. This difference was particularly evident for core temperature during the sleep period following experimental illumination.
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The purpose of this review was to discuss the influence of light on humans in the environment, focusing the relation between the quality of light and human biological rhythms, and also to apply the results on lighting planning to a living space which takes into account human health and comfort. The main discussions were as follows: 1) The effects of light on the behavior of core temperature and melatonin vary depending on its wavelength. Light with long wavelengths, such as light with a low color temperature and red light, had little influence on the human biological rhythms. On the other hand, green and blue light--light of mid-short wavelength such as light with a high color temperature--had a greater influence. 2) From the relation between the stimulus received by each photoreceptor and the inhibition of core temperature and melatonin, it might be concluded that the photoreceptor responsible for transmitting light information that affects biological rhythms is M-cones. 3) A higher light intensity was required in the morning than in the evening to induce the inhibition of melatonin secretion. This result suggests the possibility of existence of a diurnal change of sensitivity of the photoreceptors (M-cones). 4) From all these results, it is proposed in the field of living environment and living engineering that light with a low color temperature should be used for low-level lighting at night, and high-level light with a high color temperature in the morning.
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One of the possible causes of disturbed circadian rhythms and sleep in the elderly may be impaired photic input to the circadian clock. Age-related changes in lens density are known to reduce the transmission of short wavelength light, which has been shown to be most effective in suppressing nocturnal melatonin. The aim of the study therefore was to investigate age-related changes in melatonin suppression in response to short and medium wavelength light. Young premenopausal (n=13) and postmenopausal (n=21) women were exposed to 30 min of monochromatic light at two different wavelengths and irradiances (lambda(max) 456 nm: 3.8 and 9.8 microW/cm(2); lambda(max) 548 nm: 28 and 62 microW/cm(2)). Melatonin suppression was compared across light treatments and between age groups. Significantly reduced melatonin suppression was noted in the elderly subjects following exposure to short wavelength (456 nm) light compared to the young subjects. These results are likely to reflect age-related changes in lens density.
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the effect of blue light phototherapy on the expression of circadian genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and plasma melatonin levels in neonates. Real-time reverse-transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) was used to determine the expression of Bmal1 and Cry1 in PBMC, and an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was used to determine plasma melatonin levels in 32 breast-milk jaundiced neonates before and after phototherapy, compared with 29 control neonates. The results showed that the expression of Bmal1 was decreased and Cry1 increased significantly after phototherapy. Plasma melatonin levels were decreased after phototherapy. There was no statistical difference in Bmal1 and Cry1 gene expression and plasma melatonin levels in the control group. In conclusion, phototherapy does affect the expression of the circadian genes Bmal1 and Cry1 in PBMC and plasma melatonin concentration in jaundiced neonates. Our results suggest that phototherapy should be timed according to circadian rhythms when treating jaundiced neonates.
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The pathogenesis of age-related maculopathy (ARM), the most common cause of visual loss after the age of 60 years, is indeed a complicated scenario that involves a variety of hereditary and environmental factors. The pathological cellular and molecular events underlying retinal photochemical light damage, including photoreceptor apoptosis, have been analysed in experimental animal models. Studies of age-related alterations of the retina and photoreceptors, the accumulation of lipofuscin in retinal pigment epithelium (RPE) cells, and the formation of drusen have greatly contributed to our knowledge. A new concept of an inflammatory response to drusen has emerged, suggesting immunogenic and systemic reactions in Bruch's membrane and the subretinal space. Oxidative stress and free radical damage also impact on the photoreceptors and RPE cells in the ageing eye. Based on the photoelectric effect, a fundamental concept in quantum physics, the consequences of high-energy irradiation have been analysed in animal models and cell culture. Short-wavelength radiation (rhodopsin spectrum), and the blue light hazard (excitation peak 440 nm), have been shown to have a major impact on photoreceptor and RPE function, inducing photochemical damage and apoptotic cell death. Following cataract surgery, there is a dramatic change in ocular transmittance. In aphakic or pseudophakic eyes (with clear intraocular lenses), high-energy (blue) and ultraviolet-A radiation strikes the retina. Epidemiological data indicate a significantly increased 5-year incidence of late ARM in non-phakic eyes compared with phakic eyes. In recent years, putative prophylactic measures against ARM have emerged. The implantation of 'yellow' intraocular lenses (IOLs) that absorb high-energy blue radiation is, from a theoretical point of view, the most rational approach, and, from a practical point of view, is easy to accomplish. With increasing age, RPE cells accumulate lipofuscin (chromophore A2E). It is noteworthy that the yellow IOL not only protects A2E-laden human RPE cells from blue light (peak 430 nm) damage, but also alleviates the detrimental effects of green (peak 550 nm) and white light. A prophylactic treatment using antioxidants is aimed at counteracting oxidative stress and free radical cellular damage. The Age-Related Eye Disease Study (AREDS), a randomized clinical trial, showed a significantly lower incidence of late ARM in a cohort of patients with drusen maculopathy treated with high doses of antioxidants than in a placebo group. In recent years, considerable progress in retinal research has been achieved, creating a platform for the search for new prophylactic and therapeutic measures to alleviate or prevent photoreceptor and RPE degeneration in ARM.
Article
This experiment tested effects of human eye pigmentation depending on the ethnicity on suppression of nocturnal melatonin secretion by light. Ten healthy Caucasian males with blue, green, or light brown irises (light-eyed Caucasians) and 11 Asian males with dark brown irises (dark-eyed Asians) volunteered to participate in the study. The mean ages of the light-eyed Caucasians and dark-eyed Asians were 26.4 +/- 3.2 and 25.3 +/- 5.7 years, respectively. The subjects were exposed to light (1,000 lux) for 2 h at night. The starting time of exposure was set to 2 h before the time of peak salivary melatonin concentration of each subject, which was determined in a preliminary experiment. Salivary melatonin concentration and pupil size were measured before exposure to light and during exposure to light. The percentage of suppression of melatonin secretion by light was calculated. The percentage of suppression of melatonin secretion 2 h after the start of light exposure was significantly larger in light-eyed Caucasians (88.9 +/- 4.2%) than in dark-eyed Asians (73.4 +/- 20.0%) (P < 0.01). No significant difference was found between pupil sizes in light-eyed Caucasians and dark-eyed Asians. These results suggest that sensitivity of melatonin to light suppression is influenced by eye pigmentation and/or ethnicity.