Light Therapy Helps Veterans Treated for Traumatic Brain Injury

Summary: Morning bright light therapy improved both physical and mental health symptoms, including cognitive function and sleep quality, in veterans who suffered TBI.

Source: Experimental Biology

A new study by researchers at the VA Portland Health Care System in Oregon found that augmenting traditional treatment for traumatic brain injury (TBI) with morning bright light therapy (MBLT) improved physical and mental symptoms for participants.

The team will present their work virtually at the American Physiological Society’s (APS) annual meeting at Experimental Biology 2021.

According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), over 185,000 veterans have been diagnosed with at least one TBI. TBI is both a common and complex injury. Because of the circumstances surrounding the brain injury, TBI frequently coincides with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Cognitive and memory impairments and poor sleep quality often result from these paired conditions.

Unfortunately, the current treatment methods for TBI, which focus on improving the cognitive symptoms, have inconsistent results.

Noting the reciprocal relationship between sleep disruption and cognitive function, the research team focused on addressing the sleep quality in the experimental group.

This shows a brain surrounded by yellow and orange rays of light
The MBLT group reported improvements in cognitive function, sleep, depression, and neuropsychiatric trauma symptoms. Image is in the public domain

Over the course of eight weeks, one group received group cognitive therapy, while the other received cognitive therapy as well as 60 minutes of MBLT within two hours of waking each day.

The MBLT group reported improvements to cognitive function, sleep, depression and neuropsychiatric trauma symptoms. The traditional therapy group did not report improvements in any of these areas.

Jonathan Elliott, PhD, a member of the research team, said that the study “demonstrates a highly feasible mechanism to improve cognitive function and the efficacy of [current treatment] … and ultimately overall quality of life in U.S. veterans.”

About this TBI research news

Source: Experimental Biology
Contact: Mario Boone – Experimental Biology
Image: The image is in the public domain

Join our Newsletter
I agree to have my personal information transferred to AWeber for Neuroscience Newsletter ( more information )
Sign up to receive our recent neuroscience headlines and summaries sent to your email once a day, totally free.
We hate spam and only use your email to contact you about newsletters. You can cancel your subscription any time.