It is shown that the circadian system is affected in patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) even at an early stage of the disease and that such dysfunction may be detrimental to sleep, mood, and cognitive functioning. Light is a strong central modulator of the circadian rhythms and is potentially beneficial to mood and cognitive functioning via a direct effect or indirectly via its modulating effects on circadian rhythms. This study focuses on tracking the effect of light therapy on sleep quality, mood, and cognition in AD of mild/moderate severity. We performed a single-blind randomized controlled trial to investigate the effects of a light therapy treatment tailored to the individual circadian phase as measured by dim light melatonin onset (DLMO). Such a treatment induced an objective circadian phase shift consistent with the melatonin phase response curve to light exposure, led to a shortening of the phase angle DLMO-falling asleep time, and was associated with an improvement in subjective sleep quality and cognitive performance.
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