Light Therapy for Parkinson’s Disease

Light therapy may improve mood and sleep problem in people with Parkinson’s disease, a new study suggests.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease that affects movement. The disease is caused by the loss of dopamine-producing neurons in the brain. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that, besides performing other functions in the brain, controls body movement. Classical symptoms of the disease include tremor, rigidity, slowness of movement, and gait problem.

Bright light therapy is a newly introduced treatment option that is especially suggested for treating depression and sleep problem in Parkinson’s disease. During this treatment approach, the patient is exposed to a strong but safe amount of light for a certain period of time.

Very recently, researchers from the University of Amsterdam examined the evidence on whether bright light therapy is safe and effective to treat depressive symptoms in people suffering from Parkinson’s disease and major depressive disorder.

The study enrolled 83 participants, which were divided into 2 groups; one group included people with Parkinson’s disease and the other with major depressive disorder. Both groups were treated with either bright light (10,000 lux) or a control light (200 lux) for 3 months. Changes in the symptoms were assessed during treatment, at the end of treatment, and 1, 3, and 6 months after treatment.

The study concluded that although bright light therapy was not effective in reducing depressive symptoms, its treatment caused a significant improvement in mood and sleep quality in patients.

The study was published in the Journal of Neurology on February 15, 2019.

Disclaimer: The information shared here should not be taken as medical advice. The opinions presented here are not intended to treat any health conditions. For your specific medical problem, consult with your health care provider.

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