Objectives: To investigate the effects of light therapy on cognition, depression, sleep, and circadian rhythms in a general, nonselected population of seniors living in a long term care facility. Design: A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Setting: The experiment took place at a long term care facility in Pennsylvania. Participants: Study participants (15 treatment, 13 placebo) were residents receiving either personal care or skilled nursing care. Intervention: Treatment consisted of approximately 400 lux of blue light administered for 30 minutes per day, Monday through Friday, for 4 weeks. The placebo was approximately 75 lux of red light generated from the same device. Measurements: Behavioral assessments were made using the MicroCog Assessment of Cognitive Functioning, Geriatric Depression Scale, and Profile of Mood States. Daytime sleepiness was evaluated using the Epworth Sleepiness Scale. Results: Three of the 4 composite scores from the MicroCog as well as the mean Tension/Anxiety score from the Profile of Mood States showed a significant treatment versus placebo effect. Conclusion: Blue light treatment led to significant cognitive improvements compared with placebo red light and may be a promising environmental intervention to reduce cognitive symptoms in elderly, long-term care residents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)100-102
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of the American Medical Directors Association
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Nursing
  • Health Policy
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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