Wednesday January 22, 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)

Next Story

This New Method Can Improve The Development of New Medicines

By dialling the parameters in this new mathematical model, researchers can quickly understand how these different binding configurations are affected

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Medicines
A New computational model will make research much more efficient and could accelerate the creation of new Medicines and therapies for many kinds of diseases. Pixabay

A new mathematical framework on molecular interactions will make it easier and more efficient for scientists to develop new medicines and other therapies for diseases such as cancer, HIV and autoimmune diseases, say reseachers.

The mathematical framework simulates the effects of the key parameters that control interactions between molecules that have multiple binding sites, as is the case for many medicines, the researchers said in a study, published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The researchers have planned to use this computational model to develop a web-based app that other researchers can use to speed the development of new therapies for diseases.

“The big advance with this study is that usually researchers use a trial-and-error experimental method in the lab for studying these kinds of molecular interactions, but here we developed a mathematical model where we know the parameters so we can make accurate predictions using a computer,” said Indian-origin researcher and study senior author Casim Sarkar from University of Minnesota in the US.

“This computational model will make research much more efficient and could accelerate the creation of new therapies for many kinds of diseases,” Sarkar added.

For the findings, the research team studied three main parameters of molecular interactions–binding strength of each site, rigidity of the linkages between the sites, and the size of the linkage arrays.

They looked at how these three parameters can be ‘dialled up’ or ‘dialled down’ to control how molecule chains with two or three binding sites interact with one another. The team then confirmed their model predictions in lab experiments. “At a fundamental level, many diseases can be traced to a molecule not binding correctly,” said study lead author Wesley Errington.

“By understanding how we can manipulate these ‘dials’ that control molecular behaviour, we have developed a new programming language that can be used to predict how molecules will bind,” Errington added.

Medicines
A new mathematical framework on molecular interactions will make it easier and more efficient for scientists to develop new medicines and other therapies for diseases such as cancer, HIV and autoimmune diseases, say reseachers. Pixabay

The need for a mathematical framework to decode this programming language is highlighted by the researchers’ finding that, even when the interacting molecule chains have just three binding sites each, there are a total of 78 unique binding configurations, most of which cannot be experimentally observed.

By dialling the parameters in this new mathematical model, researchers can quickly understand how these different binding configurations are affected, and tune them for a wide range of biological and medical applications. “We think we’ve hit on rules that are fundamental to all molecules, such as proteins, DNA, and medicines, and can be scaled up for more complex interactions,” said Errington.

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“It’s really a molecular signature that we can use to study and to engineer molecular systems. The sky is the limit with this approach,” Errington added. (IANS)