Effectiveness of Light Therapy in Cognitively Impaired Persons: A Metaanalysis of Randomized Controlled Trials

Huei-Ling Chiu, Pi-Tuan Chan, Hsin Chu, Shu-Tai Sheen Hsiao, Doresses Liu, Chueh-Ho Lin, Kuei-Ru Chou
Journal of the American Geriatrics Society 2017, 65 (10): 2227-2234

OBJECTIVES: To explore the effects of light therapy on behavioral disturbances (BDs), sleep quality, and depression.

DESIGN: Meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials.

SETTING: PubMed, Cochrane Library, Medline, EMBASE, Web of Science, and of selected randomized controlled trials and previous systematic reviews were searched.

PARTICIPANTS: Cognitively impaired persons.

MEASUREMENTS: Information was extracted on study characteristics, quality assessment, and outcomes. Outcome measures included BDs, sleep quality, and depression.

RESULTS: Nine randomized controlled trials were examined. The results showed that light therapy has a moderate effect on BD (g = -0.61) and depression (g = -0.58) and a small effect on total sleep time at night (g = 0.25). Subgroup analysis indicated that a light intensity of 2,500 lux or greater has a greater effect on depression than an intensity of less than 2,500 lux (P = .03), and the low risk of bias in blinding was superior to the RCTs deemed to be of high or unclear risk of bias in blinding in terms of BD (P = .02).

CONCLUSION: Light therapy can relieve BD, improve sleep quality, and alleviate symptoms of depression for cognitively impaired persons.

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