In a nutshell
This study investigated the effectiveness of bright light therapy (BLT) in treating depression and sleep quality in patients with Parkinson's disease. Researchers suggested that BLT helps in reducing depressive symptoms and improving the quality of sleep in these patients.
Patients with Parkinson's disease may experience depression (17%) and insomnia (not being able to sleep; 30%). Both are associated with a reduced quality of life. During BLT the patient sits near a device called light therapy box at a given time of the day. BLT improves sleep and mood and is used to treat depression. However, the effect of BLT on patients with depression and Parkinson's disease is not known.
Methods & findings
This study included 83 participants with Parkinson's disease. These patients were randomly assigned to receive BLT or a normal light (control group). Patients were treated for 3 months, followed by a 6 months follow-up.
Similar improvements in depression were seen in both groups. Depression improved in both the BLT group (63%) and the control light group (52%) at the end of the treatment period. At the end of the study, 72% of patients in the BLT group had improved depressive symptoms vs 87% in the control group. Sleep improved in both groups with a greater difference in the BLT group.
66% if patients in the BLT group and 46% in the control light group experienced side effects. The most common ones were headaches and digestive problems. These were mostly mild and temporary.
The bottom line
The authors concluded that BLT and normal light therapy are similar in improving depression symptoms in patients with Parkinson's disease. However, BLT may be more effective in improving the quality of sleep.
The fine print
This study included a limited number of patients. Further, larger studies are needed.
Published By :
Feb 15, 2019
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