Courtesy Lighting Research Center

A new study from the Lighting Research Center at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, in Troy, N.Y., investigating the effects of light stimulation on brain activity has been published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease. Conducted by Mariana Figueiro, the incoming director for Rutgers Institute for Health Center on Healthy Aging, and Levent Sahin, a research scientist at the LRC, the research described in "Flickering Red-Light Stimulus for Promoting Coherent 40 Hz Neural Oscillation: A Feasibility Study" examined how 40-hertz red light stimulation shined into the open eyes of nine young adults increased their brain gamma oscillations—a form of brain activity associated with memory that is disrupted in individuals suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"The intervention had no significant impact on working memory performance and subjective sleepiness compared to the control," wrote the researchers in their abstract. "However, increases in 40 Hz power were significantly correlated with reduced subjective sleepiness."

In the future, the researchers aim to "to investigate whether this promising, non-pharmacological lighting intervention can improve cognition in persons with mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer’s Disease," according to a press release accompanying the paper's publication.

Watch a summary of the paper's findings here.