Thursday, March 27, 2014

Feeling dopey? Refresh your "circadian eye" with a burst of orange light.

Feeling dopey? (Or sneezy, grumpy, etc.) Have no idea what a “circadian eye” is? Neither did it, but, yes, I am a sucker for brain studies – especially ones that might help my traumatized brain improve. 

Writer Kat Arney reported about this study saying: “Light is a powerful wake-up call, enhancing alertness and activity. Its effect is controlled by a group of photoreceptor cells in the eyeball that make the light-sensing pigment melanopsin. These cells, which work separately to the rods and cones needed for vision, are thought to help reset animals' body clocks - or circadian rhythms. Studies with people who are blind suggest this also happens in humans, although the evidence isn't conclusive.

To find out how melanopsin wakes up the brain, Gilles Vandewalle at the University of Liege, Belgium, and his team gave 16 people a 10-minute blast of blue or orange light while they performed a memory test in an fMRI scanner. They were then blindfolded for 70 minutes, before being retested under a green light.

People initially exposed to orange light had greater brain activity in several regions related to alertness and cognition when they were retested, compared with those pre-exposed to blue light.”

I plan to start shopping for an orange light bulb this afternoon. If you know where to buy one, text me (or is that too old-fashioned?).

Image credit: <a href=''>cepn / 123RF Stock Photo</a>

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