In a research paper published in PLoS ONE it is reported that it is not just any light that is most effective but rather light of a particular short wavelength (480 nm, i.e. blue light rather than violet or green).
The brain areas that responded to blue light exposures included areas in the brain stem and the thalamus. These areas are involved in the regulation of very basic aspects of brain function, such as the regulation of alertness and sleepiness. Other areas that responded to light included the hippocampus and amygdala. These areas are well known to be involved in the regulation of higher functions such as memory and emotion. In summary, these data establish a brain basis for the wide ranging effects of light on how we perform and feel. The data have implications for the development of better artificial light environments and a better understanding of the effects of light on the human brain in general. Dr Gilles Vandewalle, lead author, comments that “it was impressive to see how only a minor difference in wavelength could have such a dramatically different effect on our fMRI results.”
Dr Pierre Maquet, co-senior author, comments that “as a neurologist I am impressed by the wide ranging effects of light on brain function and the range of brain areas that are affected. This is an area that certainly warrants further investigation.”
Professor Derk-Jan Dijk, co-senior author remarks, “Humans are day-active animals, and maybe it is after all not so surprising to a biologist that blue light has these profound effects on our brain. After all, natural daylight contains quite a bit of blue light. We had simply forgotten about it because we are so preoccupied by the ‘visual’ effects of light, which are not particularly dependent on blue light. We now know that other aspects of brain function are.’
Stuart Miller | alfa
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