Bright lights tackle dementia in care homes probe

A MAJOR research project on the effects of bright light therapy on dementia patients has been launched in Norway.

Some 100 patients at eight nursing homes in Bergen will experience illuminance levels of up to 1000 lux during the dark Scandinavian winter months.

The study – being carried out by the University of Bergen – is unusual in that it will use the general, ceiling-mounted LED luminaires rather than individual light-therapy lights.

This approach overcomes the problem that dementia patients cannot be relied on to self-administer light therapy.

How the illuminance and colour temperatures vary throughout the day at the nursing homes participating in the study. Note that the illuminance vertical (cylindrical) rather than horizontal.

‘Symptoms of dementia are often treated with drugs that have little beneficial effects and often cause substantial side effects,’ associate professor Elisabeth Flo told Lux. ‘However, there’s evidence for the effectiveness of non-pharmacological treatment. Among those, bright light therapy is one of the most promising.’

The lights are programmed for light intensity and colour temperature to match natural light throughout the day. In the morning, lux levels are low and colour temperatures are warm; at midday, light intensity is high and colour temperatures are cool; in the evening and at dusk, light levels fall and colour temperatures revert to warm. The light intensity levels are vertical (cylindrical) illuminance rather than horizontal. The light is provided by Glamox C95-S luminaires with tuneable white LEDs and glare-free microprismatic optics.

The participating patients will undergo a number of tests during and after the therapy treatment. ‘Tests include physical tests such as body temperature, blood pressure and pulse, but also measurements and observations of sleep, agitation, depression, quality of life, pain and more’ says Flo.

Assessments of the nursing home staff will include alertness, sleep, fatigue, depression and anxiety.

The goal of the study – dubbed the DEM.LIGHT project – is to explore the possibility of installing tuneable lighting in the homes of dementia patients to delay the necessity of move a nursing home.

‘Our vision is to improve the quality of the public sector treatments,’ says Flo. she says. ‘Hopefully these solutions can be transferred to a home setting, prolonging the time persons with dementia may stay at home. This will reduce the costs for the society and improve the lives of patients, relatives, and healthcare staff.’

  • Human-centric lighting is one of the key themes of this year’s LuxLive 2017 exhibition and conference. A well as a human-centric zone, a panel discussion on ‘the challenge of human-centric design’ will take place at 5.10pm on Wednesday 15 November 2017 in the lightspace arena. Panellists include John Mcrae of Orms, Karen van Creveld of Karen van Creveld Lighting Design, Kevan Shaw of KSLD, Mark Ridler of BDP, Mary Rushton-Beales of Lighting Design House.
  • LuxLive 2017 takes place at ExCeL London on Wednesday 15 November and Thursday 16 November 2017. Entry is free if you pre-register HERE.