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Light Therapy May Improve Sleep, Cognition After Brain Injury

Janice Wood
Published Date: 
1 June 2013
Original article: 

Best known as a treatment for seasonal affectivedisorder, bright light therapy may improve sleep, cognition, emotion and brain function following mild traumatic brain injury (TBI), according to a new study.

The study found that six weeks of morning bright light therapy resulted in a marked decrease in daytime sleepiness.

This improvement was associated with improvements in the propensity to fall asleep and night-time sleep quality, according to the study.

The bright light therapy also affected depressive symptoms, researchers said.

“Our preliminary data suggests that morning bright light therapy might be helpful to reduce subjective daytime sleepiness and to improve night-time sleep,” said Mareen Weber, Ph.D., an instructor in psychiatry at McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School.

“Importantly, the research also shows changes in brain activation during a demanding cognitive task, suggesting that bright light treatment might yield changes in brain functioning.”

For the study, researchers recruited 18 people with a documented history of at least one mild TBI and sleep problems that either emerged or were aggravated by the most recent injury.


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