Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Light. . .It May Hurt You

Now something new to worry about.

Did you know the fluorescent lights you most normally work under can steal your strength?

A new research in animals shows that excessive exposure to “light pollution” may be worse for health than previously known, taking a toll on muscle and bone strength, according to The New York Times.

Researchers at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands tracked the health of rats exposed to six months of continuous light compared to a control group of rats living under normal light-dark conditions — 12 hours of light, followed by 12 hours of dark. 

During the study, the rats exposed to continuous light had less muscle strength and developed signs of early-stage osteoporosis. They also got fatter and had higher blood glucose levels. Several markers of immune system health also worsened, according to the report published in the medical journal Current Biology.

While earlier research has suggested excessive light exposure could affect cognition, the new research was surprising in that it showed a pronounced effect on muscles and bones, The Times reports. While it’s not clear why constant light exposure took a toll on the motor functions of the animals, it is known that light and dark cues influence a body’s circadian rhythms, which regulate many of the body’s physiological processes.

The good news is the effects of artificial light exposure appear to be reversible. When the study rats returned to their natural light-dark cycle, their health issues returned to normal after two weeks.

But people -- especially really sick people in hospitals -- are kept under bright light constantly, while our teens are bathed in the endless flickering light of computers and video games.   Studies have shown the blue wavelength light from screens is more disruptive to the body’s circadian system than the red wavelength light that comes from traditional artificial lights.

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