Circadian lighting reduces depression symptoms

September 04, 2017
Glostrup Nat
New research results show that circadian lighting reduces depression symptoms in apoplexy patients hospitalized for rehabilitation for more than two weeks.

Since 2013, a Danish research project at the apoplexy unit of the neurological clinic at Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, has studied whether circadian lighting has any effects on apoplexy patients hospitalized for rehabilitation.

”For hospitalized patients, it can be a great challenge to maintain a natural circadian rhythm. Patients hospitalized for rehabilitation after a blood clot or brain hemorrhage are often immobile and do not go outside and thus do not get the daylight that the brain needs in order to achieve a stable circadian rhythm," explains Doctor Anders West from Copenhagen University Hospital.

In cooperation with the lighting company Chromaviso, the research group and the operations department from Copenhagen University Hospital have developed a circadian lighting designed to maintain the natural circadian rhythm by imitating the natural sunlight during the day and thus creating the necessary combination of light changes and darkness over 24 hours.

The research project studied the effect of natural circadian lighting on patients’ health at the apoplexy unit’s department for rehabilitation after a stroke, with regard to sleep, circadian rhythm markers, cognitive abilities and depression. This project is the first study internationally to measure the effect of circadian lighting on hospitalized apoplexy patients. It is a randomized clinically controlled study with 90 patients, of which half of the patients were treated on a ward with installed circadian lighting and the other half, the control group, were on a ward with standard lighting.

The first results have been published at the ”International Stroke Conference” in Houston, Texas. Here, it was submitted that patients on the ward with circadian lighting had significantly fewer depression symptoms when they were discharged compared to the patients from the control group. The depression degree of the patients was measured when they were admitted as well as when they were discharged after at least two weeks of hospitalization.

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