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Implementation of Dynamic Lighting in a Nursing Home: Impact on Agitation but not on Rest-Activity Patterns

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Objective: Disturbances of circadian rest-activity rhythms in demented patients often culminate in the clinical problem of evening and nighttime agitation. The aim of the current study was to test the impact of a dynamic lighting system on agitation and rest-activity cycles in patients with dementia.

Methods: From midwinter on, a ceiling mounted dynamic lighting system was installed in the common room of a nursing home and programmed to produce high illuminance with higher blue light proportions during the day and lower illuminance without blue light in the evening. Fifteen residents with dementia were regularly assessed with the Cohen Mansfield Agitation Index (CMAI) before and after the lighting intervention. Additionally rest-activity cycles were continuously monitored for 6 months by a wrist worn activity watch. Analysis of CMAI data was performed by using the Wilcoxon-Test for matched pairs (before vs. after the lighting installation). Rest-activity data was compared with t-tests for dependent samples.

The dynamic lighting significantly reduced the CMAI sum-scores from 30.2±5.1 to 27.9±2.6 (mean ± SD; N = 12; p<0.05). Analysis of the CMAI subscores revealed that under the dynamic lighting mainly non-physically aggressive behaviors were reduced.

Results: Results from the rest-activity analysis did not show differences of circadian amplitude and other circadian variables before and after the lighting installation.

The dynamic lighting in the living room significantly reduced agitated behavior in demented patients, indicating short-term benefits from higher daily light exposures. Whether such lighting also impacts long-term (circadian) rest-activity cycles needs to be further investigated.
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Keywords: Agitation; circadian rhythms; dementia; light; light treatment; nursing home; rest-activity-pattern

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 October 2017

This article was made available online on 18 August 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Implementation of Dynamic Lighting in a Nursing Home: Impact on Agitation but not on Rest-Activity Patterns".

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  • Current Alzheimer Research publishes peer-reviewed frontier review and research articles on all areas of Alzheimer's disease. This multidisciplinary journal will help in understanding the neurobiology, genetics, pathogenesis, and treatment strategies of Alzheimer's disease. The journal publishes objective reviews written by experts and leaders actively engaged in research using cellular, molecular, and animal models. The journal also covers original articles on recent research in fast emerging areas of molecular diagnostics, brain imaging, drug development and discovery, and clinical aspects of Alzheimer's disease. Manuscripts are encouraged that relate to the synergistic mechanism of Alzheimer's disease with other dementia and neurodegenerative disorders. Book reviews, meeting reports and letters-to-the-editor are also published. The journal is essential reading for researchers, educators and physicians with interest in age-related dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Current Alzheimer Research provides a comprehensive 'bird's-eye view' of the current state of Alzheimer's research for neuroscientists, clinicians, health science planners, granting, caregivers and families of this devastating disease.
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