George C. Brainard's research while affiliated with Thomas Jefferson University and other places

Publications (157)

Article
Over 248,000 men in the U.S. alone this year will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, and over 33,300 will die from the disease. The World Health Organization, in the case of breast cancer, has classified night-shift work involving light at night (LAN)-induced circadian disruption to be a probable carcinogen (Class 2A). Exposure to LAN suppresses ni...
Article
Circadian adaptation to shifted sleep/wake schedules may be facilitated by optimizing the timing, intensity and spectral characteristics of light exposure, which is the principal time cue for mammalian circadian pacemaker, and possibly by strategically timing non‐photic time cues such as exercise. Therefore, circadian phase resetting by light and e...
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Ocular light exposure has important influences on human health and well-being through modulation of circadian rhythms and sleep, as well as neuroendocrine and cognitive functions. Prevailing patterns of light exposure do not optimally engage these actions for many individuals, but advances in our understanding of the underpinning mechanisms and eme...
Article
Shiftwork and circadian disruption are associated with adverse metabolic effects. Therefore, we examined whether clinical biomarkers of metabolic health are under endogenous circadian regulation using a 40‐h constant routine protocol (CR; constant environmental and behavioral conditions) and evaluated the impact of typical daily conditions with per...
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Sleep schedule and circadian phase irregularity are associated with some health problems and diseases, e.g., narcolepsy, circadian disorder, and concussion. Actigraphy has been widely used in the study of sleep and circadian rhythms. This paper presents a method for estimating the sleep/wake state based on the minute-by-minute actigraphy data measu...
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Architectural lighting has potent biological effects but applied lighting practices that capitalize on this potential have been limited. In this review, we endeavor to consolidate and synthesize key references that will be useful for lighting professionals, with the goal of supporting knowledge translation into pragmatic lighting strategies. Specif...
Article
Intermittent light (IML) pulses are more efficient per minute of exposure than continuous exposure in resetting the phase of the human circadian pacemaker. We assessed the spectral sensitivity in phase resetting, melatonin suppression and alertness induced by IML pulses. Twelve healthy young adults (6 females; mean age ± SD = 25.4 ± 3.6 years) were...
Preprint
Full-text available
Ocular light exposure has important influences on human health and well-being through modulation of circadian rhythms and sleep, as well as neuroendocrine and cognitive functions. Current patterns of light exposure do not optimally engage these actions for many individuals, but advances in our understanding of the underpinning mechanisms and emergi...
Article
Light is a key extrinsic factor to be considered in operations and design of animal room facilities. Over the past four decades, many studies on typical laboratory animal populations have demonstrated impacts on neuroendocrine, neurobehavioral, and circadian physiology. These effects are regulated independently from the defined physiology for the v...
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Study objectives: Women in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle exhibit better cognitive performance overnight than women in the follicular phase, although the mechanism is unknown. Given the link between core body temperature (CBT) and performance, one potential mechanism is the thermoregulatory role of progesterone (P4), estradiol (E2), and t...
Article
Light is a potent biologic force that profoundly influences circadian, neuroendocrine, and neurobehavioral regulation in animals. Previously we examined the effects of light-phase exposure of rats to white light-emitting diodes (LED), which emit more light in the blue-appearing portion of the visible spectrum (465 to 485 nm) than do broad-spectrum...
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Objective: Lighting is a strong synchronizer for circadian rhythms, which in turn drives a wide range of biological functions. The objective of our work is a) to construct a clinical in-patient testbed with smartİ lighting, and b) evaluate its feasibility for use in future clinical studies. Methods: A feedback capable, variable spectrum lighting...
Article
Lighting based on light-emitting diodes (LEDs) not only is more energy efficient than traditional lighting, but also enables improved performance and control. The colour, intensity and distribution of light can now be controlled with unprecedented precision, enabling light to be used both as a signal for specific physiological responses in humans a...
Article
Wavelength comparisons have indicated that circadian phase-shifting and enhancement of subjective and EEG-correlates of alertness have a higher sensitivity to short wavelength visible light. The aim of the current study was to test whether polychromatic light enriched in the blue portion of the spectrum (17,000 K) has increased efficacy for melaton...
Chapter
Two convergent developments are transforming architectural lighting: (1) the advance of solid state lighting technologies and (2) the confirmation that light regulates human circadian, neuroendocrine, and neurobehavioral physiology, thereby influencing health and well-being. Analytic action spectra studies have shown peak sensitivity in the short-w...
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Full-text available
Regular cycles of exposure to light and dark control pineal melatonin production and temporally coordinate circadian rhythms of metabolism and physiology in mammals. Previously we demonstrated that the peak circadian amplitude of nocturnal blood melatonin levels of rats were more than 6-fold higher after exposure to cool white fluorescent (CWF) lig...
Chapter
Two convergent developments are transforming architectural lighting: (1) the advance of solid state lighting technologies and (2) the confirmation that light regulates human circadian, neuroendocrine, and neurobehavioral physiology, thereby influencing health and well-being. Analytic action spectra studies have shown peak sensitivity in the short-w...
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Full-text available
Light controls pineal melatonin production and temporally coordinates circadian rhythms of metabolism and physiology in normal and neoplastic tissues. We previously showed that peak circulating nocturnal melatonin levels were 7-fold higher after daytime spectral transmittance of white light through blue-tinted (compared with clear) rodent cages. He...
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Early studies on rodents showed that short-term exposure to high-intensity light (> 70 lx) above 600 nm (red-appearing) influences circadian neuroendocrine and metabolic physiology. Here we addressed the hypothesis that long-term, low-intensity red light exposure at night (rLEN) from a 'safelight' emitting no light below approximately 620 nm disrup...
Article
The basic goal of this research is to determine the best combination of light wavelengths for use as a lighting countermeasure for circadian and sleep disruption during space exploration, as well as for individuals living on Earth. Action spectra employing monochromatic light and selected monochromatic wavelength comparisons have shown that short w...
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Expression of long interspersed element-1 (L1) is upregulated in many human malignancies. L1 can introduce genomic instability via insertional mutagenesis and DNA double-strand breaks, both of which may promote cancer. Light exposure at night, a recently recognized carcinogen, is associated with an increased risk of cancer in shift workers. We repo...
Article
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 (mea...
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The suprachiasmatic nucleus is synchronized by the light:dark cycle and is the master biologic clock that serves as a pacemaker to regulate circadian rhythms. We explored the hypothesis that spectral transmittance (tint) of light through caging alters circadian rhythms of endocrine and metabolic plasma constituents in nonpigmented Sprague-Dawley ra...
Article
Light is a potent stimulus for regulating circadian, neuroendocrine and neurobehavioural responses in humans. Further, light therapy is effective for treating select affective, circadian and sleep disorders. Over the past decade, discoveries show that these biological and behavioural effects of light are mediated by a newly discovered photoreceptor...
Article
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide, and there is only a limited explanation of why. Risk is highest in the most industrialized countries but also is rising rapidly in the developing world. Known risk factors account for only a portion of the incidence in the high-risk populations, and there has been considerabl...
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Light is a potent stimulus for regulating circadian, hormonal, and behavioral systems. In addition, light therapy is effective for certain affective disorders, sleep problems, and circadian rhythm disruption. These biological and behavioral effects of light are influenced by a distinct photoreceptor in the eye, melanopsin-containing intrinsically p...
Article
The International Space Station (ISS) uses General Luminaire Assemblies (GLAs) that house fluorescent lamps for illuminating the astronauts' working and living environments. Solid-state light emitting diodes (LEDs) are attractive candidates for replacing the GLAs on the ISS. The advantages of LEDs over conventional fluorescent light sources include...
Article
It is well documented that stress is associated with negative health outcomes in cancer patients. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of a novel mindfulness intervention called mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT) versus standard educational support, on indices of stress and quality of life in breast cancer patients with high stress...
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Light entrains normal circadian rhythms of physiology and metabolism in all mammals. Previous studies from our laboratory demonstrated that spectral transmittance (color) of light passing through cages affects these responses in rats. Here, we addressed the hypothesis that red tint alters the circadian nocturnal melatonin signal and circadian oscil...
Article
The American Medical Association House of Delegates in June of 2012 adopted a policy statement on nighttime lighting and human health. This major policy statement summarizes the scientific evidence that nighttime electric light can disrupt circadian rhythms in humans and documents the rapidly advancing understanding from basic science of how disrup...
Article
Obesity is a chronic inflammation with increased serum levels of insulin, insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF1), and interleukin-17 (IL-17). The objective of this study was to test a hypothesis that insulin and IGF1 enhance IL-17-induced expression of inflammatory chemokines/cytokines through a glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3B)-dependent mechanism,...
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Light is potent in circadian, neuroendocrine, and neurobehavioral regulation, thereby having profound influence on the health and wellbeing of all mammals, including laboratory animals. We hypothesized that the spectral quality of light transmitted through colored compared with clear standard rodent cages alters circadian production of melatonin an...
Article
In two recent reports, melanopsin gene variations were associated with seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and in changes in the timing of sleep and activity in healthy individuals. New studies have deepened our understanding of the retinohypothalamic tract, which translates environmental light received by the retina into neural signals sent to a se...
Article
This study employed functional magnetic resonance imaging to evaluate changes in cerebral blood flow (CBF) associated with the Mindfulness-based Art Therapy (MBAT) programme and correlate such changes to stress and anxiety in women with breast cancer. Eighteen breast cancer patients were randomized to the MBAT or education control group. The patien...
Article
Disturbed sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythmicity are associated with cancer, but the underlying mechanisms are unknown. Employing a tissue-isolated human breast xenograft tumor nude rat model, we observed that glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β), an enzyme critical in metabolism and cell proliferation/survival, exhibits a circadian rhythm of ph...
Article
The photic resetting response of the human circadian pacemaker depends on the timing of exposure, and the direction and magnitude of the resulting shift is described by a Phase Response Curve (PRC). Previous PRCs in humans have utilized high intensity polychromatic white light. Given that the circadian photoreception system is maximally sensitive t...
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Study objectives: To interact with the robotic Phoenix Mars Lander (PML) spacecraft, mission personnel were required to work on a Mars day (24.65 h) for 78 days. This alien schedule presents a challenge to Earth-bound circadian physiology and a potential risk to workplace performance and safety. We evaluated the acceptability, feasibility, and eff...
Article
Proceedings: AACR 102nd Annual Meeting 2011‐‐ Apr 2‐6, 2011; Orlando, FL Light at night (LAN), via its ability to suppress nocturnal circadian pineal melatonin production, has been associated with an increased risk of prostate, breast, and endometrial cancers reported in rotating night shift workers. In previous studies, we determined that melaton...
Article
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 a...
Article
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...
Article
The circadian production of melatonin by the pineal gland during the night provides an inhibitory signal to tissue-isolated steroid receptor SR+ and - MCF-7 human breast cancer xenografts in female nude rats. A pivotal mechanism for melatonin's anticancer effects in vivo involves a melatonin receptor-mediated inhibition of linoleic acid (LA) uptake...
Article
This longitudinal study was designed to examine changes in medical students' empathy during medical school and to determine when the most significant changes occur. Four hundred fifty-six students who entered Jefferson Medical College in 2002 (n = 227) and 2004 (n = 229) completed the Jefferson Scale of Physician Empathy at five different times: at...
Article
Fatigue occurs during spaceflight and will jeopardize health and performance. This risk may be influenced by artificial and transmitted light exposure, individual vulnerability t o sleep l oss a nd c ircadian d ynamics, a nd work/sleep schedules. Efforts are needed to improve sleep hygiene, and to identif y and improve conditions that interfere wit...
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The circadian and neurobehavioral effects of light are primarily mediated by a retinal ganglion cell photoreceptor in the mammalian eye containing the photopigment melanopsin. Nine action spectrum studies using rodents, monkeys, and humans for these responses indicate peak sensitivities in the blue region of the visible spectrum ranging from 459 to...
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To characterize patients seeking care at a university-based integrative medicine practice, and to assess short-term changes in health-related quality of life (HRQoL) associated with integrative medical treatment. Prospective, observational study. This study was conducted at a large U.S. academic medical center affiliated with the Consortium of Acad...
Article
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a multidimensional disorder, manifested in individual patterns. As applied to SAD, a proliferation of studies of this disorder, of its response to light, and of its psychological and psychophysiological correlates leads to a view of SAD as multidimensional, manifested in individual patterns that have both common...
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As the ear has dual functions for audition and balance, the eye has a dual role in detecting light for a wide range of behavioral and physiological functions separate from sight. These responses are driven primarily by stimulation of photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (pRGCs) that are most sensitive to short-wavelength ( approximately 480 nm) bl...
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Light, including artificial light, has a range of effects on human physiology and behavior and can therefore alter human physiology when inappropriately timed. One example of potential light-induced disruption is the effect of light on circadian organization, including the production of several hormone rhythms. Changes in light-dark exposure (e.g.,...
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In the art and science of lighting, four traditional objectives have been to provide light that: 1) is optimum for visual performance; 2) is visually comfortable; 3) permits aesthetic appreciation of the space; and 4) conserves energy. Over the past 25 years, it has been demonstrated that there are nonvisual, systemic effects of light in healthy hu...
Article
The aim of this study was to determine the effects of circulating catecholamines and light on the daily melatonin rhythm in the marmot. Endogenous levels of circulating catecholamines and plasma melatonin were measured during arousal from hibernation in light and stuthes were performed on the circadian melatonin rhythm in two photoperiods (LD 4:20...
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Abstract Studies in rodents with retinal degeneration indicated that neither the rod nor the cone photoreceptors obligatorily participate in circadian responses to light, including melatonin suppression and photoperiodic response. Yet there is a residual phase-shifting response in melanopsin knockout mice, which suggests an alternate or redundant m...
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The relationship between circadian phototransduction and circadian-regulated processes is poorly understood. Melatonin, commonly a circadian phase marker, may play a direct role in a myriad of physiologic processes. The circadian rhythm for pineal melatonin secretion is regulated by the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Its neural source...
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The purpose of this study was to gather data on the efficacy of a newly developed psychosocial group intervention for cancer patients, called mindfulness-based art therapy (MBAT). One hundred and eleven women with a variety of cancer diagnoses were paired by age and randomized to either an eight-week MBAT intervention group or a wait-list control g...
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Full-text available
While light has proven an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), an optimal wavelength combination has not been determined. Short wavelength light (blue) has demonstrated potency as a stimulus for acute melatonin suppression and circadian phase shifting. This study tested the efficacy of short wavelength light therapy for SAD. B...
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To assess the wavelength-dependent sensitivity of the acute effects of ocular light exposure on alertness, performance, waking electroencephalogram (EEG), and cortisol. A between-subjects design was employed to compare the effects of exposure to 460-nm or 555-nm light for 6.5 hours during the biological night. Intensive Physiological Monitoring Uni...
Article
Early studies on rodents indicated that the long-wavelength portion of the spectrum (orange- and red-appearing light) could influence circadian and neuroendocrine responses. Since then, both polychromatic and analytic action spectra in various rodent species have demonstrated that long-wavelength light is very weak, if not entirely inactive, for re...
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The increased breast cancer risk in female night shift workers has been postulated to result from the suppression of pineal melatonin production by exposure to light at night. Exposure of rats bearing rat hepatomas or human breast cancer xenografts to increasing intensities of white fluorescent light during each 12-hour dark phase (0-345 microW/cm2...
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Full-text available
Light profoundly impacts human consciousness through the stimulation of the visual system and powerfully regulates the human circadian system, which, in turn, has a broad regulatory impact on virtually all tissues in the body. For more than 25 years, the techniques of action spectroscopy have yielded insights into the wavelength sensitivity of circ...
Article
Light is being used as a pre-launch countermeasure to circadian and sleep disruption in astronauts. The effect of light on the circadian system is readily monitored by measurement of plasma melatonin. Our group has established an action spectrum for human melatonin regulation and determined the region of 446-477 nm to be the most potent for suppres...
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The endogenous circadian oscillator in mammals, situated in the suprachiasmatic nuclei, receives environmental photic input from specialized subsets of photoreceptive retinal ganglion cells. The human circadian pacemaker is exquisitely sensitive to ocular light exposure, even in some people who are otherwise totally blind. The magnitude of the rese...