Light Therapy May Protect the Brain.
Have you ever had trouble remembering something or find yourself struggling to find the right words? Is it due to cognitive decline or are you just having an “off” day? A certain amount of cognitive decline is expected with aging, however, for many people, cognitive decline is more pronounced and may be due to things other than the process of aging. In fact, between 5% and 36% of people in the United States do experience mild cognitive decline, or the stage of cognitive decline that happens between the expected decline due to aging and the more serious stage of dementia. Another five million people in the U.S., or one out of every six women and one out of every 10 men, are living with dementia. With so many people experiencing mild to severe cognitive decline, ways to slow or halt that decline are constantly being researched and tested. One therapy that has gained some recent notoriety in medical circles and the press is light therapy. So, can light therapy actual protect the brain? Many believe that it can.
Light Therapy and the Brain
While cognitive decline, or cognitive impairment, are wide general terms, the onset of such decline may signal an underlying condition or a more serious conditions like Alzheimer’s disease. As such, it is important to understand what is triggering these changes and a trip to your physician is the best place to start. For those who have been diagnosed with cognitive decline, dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, hope for slowing decline may lie in treatments more innovative and less invasive than previous, more traditional care plans that involve drug therapies. One treatment that scientists at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) have found to be effective is the use of light therapy, which boosts a type of brain wave called gamma oscillation. This brain wave has been shown to be impaired in those suffering from Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive decline. By looking at the cellular level of the brain, this group of scientists found that shining a flickering light into the eyes of mice reduced toxic buildups that are present in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients. In addition, combing light therapy with sound therapy seemed to offer even more improved benefits by reducing inflammation and preventing cell death.
More Ways to Combat Cognitive Decline
In addition to light therapy, researchers believe that lifestyle changes can also be effective ways to combat cognitive decline. Exercise, proper sleep, avoiding alcohol, a Mediterranean style diet, social interaction and mental stimulation all have been shown to have profound benefits on health and longevity and staying sharper as we age. With more and more attention being paid to living healthier longer, there are sure to be more promising ways to stave off cognitive decline in the near future. If you are questioning your own memory or thinking ability, or are worried about a loved one, you should visit your doctor or seek the advice of a medical professional. Early detection and possible treatments will help alleviate any worries.
If you would like to learn more about how light or sound therapies can help you in the fight against cognitive decline, contact the team at Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center today.