Light therapy for Parkinson's patients

Treatment tailored to the chronotype for restful sleep

Parkinson's disease is estimated to affect more than six million people worldwide. They urgently need new non-pharmacological treatments to relieve their non-motor symptoms. These include light therapies. Until now, such treatments have not been customised to the individual chronotype of the patient. A study at the Queensland University of Technology, however, investigated the effectiveness of biologically controlled light therapy. The result: controlled exposure to light can improve circadian regulation, sleep patterns and therefore also quality of life.

For four weeks, the study participants with mild to moderate disease received 30 minutes a day of a therapy modelled on daylight (Day Mel) or enhanced melanopsin-stimulating light (Enhanced Mel). Both therapies were tailored to the personal chronotype and the light exposure in the environment was monitored. Both the controlled daylight and the melanopsin booster light measurably improved restorative deep sleep. However, the researchers did not find a significant difference between the two intervention groups and attribute this to the early stage of the disease.