Tuesday February 18, 2020

Blue Light Exposure Therapy may Heal Traumatic Brain Injury: Study

Blue light therapy may heal mild traumatic brain injury

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Blue Light therapy brain
Blue light exposure therapy can aid the healing process of people impact by mild traumatic brain injury. Pixabay

Early morning blue light exposure therapy can aid the healing process of people impact by mild traumatic brain injury, according to new research.

“Daily exposure to blue wavelength light each morning helps to re-entrain the circadian rhythm so that people get better, more regular sleep. This is likely true for everybody, but we recently demonstrated it in people recovering from mild traumatic brain injury, or mTBI,” said study lead author William D Scott Killgore from University of Arizona in the US.

“That improvement in sleep was translated into improvements in cognitive function, reduced daytime sleepiness and actual brain repair,” Killgore added.

therapy brain
Blue light therapy suppresses brain production of a chemical called melatonin. Pixabay

Mild traumatic brain injuries, or concussions, are often the result of falls, fights, car accidents and sports participation.

Headaches, attention problems and mental fogginess are commonly reported after head injuries and can persist for weeks or months for some people.

According to the study published in the journal Neurobiology of Disease, few effective treatments for mTBI exist.

Recent research has shown that the brain repairs itself during sleep, so the resarch team sought to determine if improved sleep led to a faster recovery.

In a randomised clinical trial, adults with mTBI used a cube-like device that shines bright blue light (with a peak wavelength of 469 nm) at participants from their desk or tables for 30 minutes early each morning for six weeks.

Control groups were exposed to bright amber light.

“Blue light suppresses brain production of a chemical called melatonin,” Killgore said.

“You don’t want melatonin in the morning because it makes you drowsy and prepares the brain to sleep. When you are exposed to blue light in the morning, it shifts your brain’s biological clock so that in the evening, your melatonin will kick in earlier and help you to fall asleep and stay asleep,” Killgore added.

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Blue Light therapy leads to an improved sleep. Pixabay

People get the most restorative sleep when it aligns with their natural circadian rhythm of melatonin – the body’s sleep-wake cycle associated with night and day.

“If we can get you sleeping regularly, at the same time each day, that’s much better because the body and the brain can more effectively coordinate all these repair processes,” Killgore added.

As a result of the blue light treatment, participants fell asleep and woke an average of one hour earlier than before the trial and were less sleepy during the daytime.

Participants improved their speed and efficiency in brain processing and showed an increase in volume in the pulvinar nucleus, an area of the brain responsible for visual attention.

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Neural connections and communication flow between the pulvinar nucleus and other parts of the brain that drive alertness and cognition were also strengthened, the study said.

“We think we’re facilitating brain healing by promoting better sleep and circadian alignment, and as these systems heal, these brain areas are communicating with each other more effectively. That could be what’s translating into improvements in cognition and less daytime sleepiness,” Killgore said. (IANS)

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Reflux Drug Can Be a Promising Therapy To Curb Preterm Birth: Study

The researchers identified 83 drug candidates, but when they excluded those found to have pregnancy risks in animal or human studies

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Pregnancy
Inflammation clearly plays a role in initiating labour and preterm birth. Immune pathways are very significantly dysregulated in women who end up delivering preterm, and they're also dysregulated in babies who are born early. Pixabay

Researchers have found that Lansoprazole, an over-the-counter acid reflux drug that is often taken by pregnant women, may be a promising therapy to reduce preterm birth.

The study, published in the journal JCI Insight also identified 12 other USFDA-approved drugs that are deemed safe in pregnancy. While the drugs encompass a variety of modalities, the researchers said they all appear to act on biological pathways that affect the immune response, which is implicated in preterm birth.

“Inflammation clearly plays a role in initiating labour and preterm birth. Immune pathways are very significantly dysregulated in women who end up delivering preterm, and they’re also dysregulated in babies who are born early,” said said study senior author Marina Sirota from University of California.

“However, we have seen from our previous work that there is an interaction between the maternal and fetal immune systems and a breakdown in maternal-fetal tolerance,” Sirota added. To identify candidate drugs that might be effective in preventing preterm birth, the researchers first looked at which genes were up- or down-regulated in the blood cells of women who experienced spontaneous preterm birth to identify a gene expression “signature.”

Then they looked for the opposite signature in cells that had been exposed to 1,309 different drugs, reasoning that if a drug could correct the effects that preterm birth had on the women’s blood cells, the drugs might also prevent preterm birth itself.

The researchers identified 83 drug candidates, but when they excluded those found to have pregnancy risks in animal or human studies, they wound up with 13 drugs, ranked according to their “reversal score,” a measure of the extent to which they were able to reverse the gene expression signature of preterm birth.

The scientists chose lansoprazole for further testing because, in addition to its high reversal score, it is available over the counter, and they know from their previous work that it affects a stress-response protein, heme oxygenase-1, that has been linked with pregnancy disorders.

Lansoprazole, which is a proton-pump inhibitor marketed as Prevacid, had the second-highest reversal score of the 13 drugs identified as being safe and effective. Progesterone was further down the list. The researchers tested lansoprazole in pregnant mice that had been given a bacterial component to induce inflammation, which causes some fetuses to die in utero, where they are reabsorbed.

Pregnancy
Researchers have found that Lansoprazole, an over-the-counter acid reflux drug that is often taken by pregnant women, may be a promising therapy to reduce preterm birth. Pixabay

When these mice were given lansoprazole, they had more viable fetuses. Lansoprazole also worked better in these mice than progesterone. Although it is a good measure of how inflammation affects pregnancy in mice, the researhers said the fetal resorption mouse model is not an adequate model of human preterm birth.

They said more work, including studies in people, would need to be done before lansoprazole or any of the dozen other drugs they identified could be proven effective in pregnant women at risk for preterm birth.

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“This, basically, is a proof of concept that this drug has anti-inflammatory properties, which are not the properties the drug was designed for, this is a short way to get to new therapeutics for known diseases,” said study author David K Stevenson. (IANS)