Bright Light Exposure Improved Sleep In Cancer Patients

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Lisa M. Wu, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine Department of Medical Social Sciences Chicago, Illinois 60611

Dr. Lisa Wu

Lisa M. Wu, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Northwestern University
Feinberg School of Medicine
Department of Medical Social Sciences
Chicago, Illinois 60611

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Sleep disturbances are reported by cancer patients at a significantly higher rate than in the general population. Among post‐treatment cancer survivors, 23% to 44% experience insomnia symptoms even years after treatment. Sleep disturbances are most commonly treated with medications which many cancer patients are reluctant to add to the large group of medications already prescribed. Furthermore, systematic light exposure intervention is less burdensome than other non‐pharmacologic interventions for sleep disturbance.

In a pilot study, systematic light exposure intervention (i.e., bright white light from a small light source for 30 minutes each morning for 4 weeks) with a mixed group of fatigued cancer survivors was significantly more effective than comparison dim light exposure in improving sleep efficiency (i.e., clinically large effects). Medium to large effect sizes were also seen in self‐reported sleep quality, total sleep time, and wake time. Results support the conclusion that systematic light exposure intervention has considerable promise for reducing negative side effects among cancer survivors.

MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Resulting improvement in sleep efficiency was sustained to 3 weeks post‐intervention. Moreover, sleep efficiency in thebright light group improved to clinically normal levels on average (>85%) by the end of the intervention; this improvement was observed even 3 weeks afterward. The comparison dim light group remained at low sleep efficiency levels on average for the entire study.

MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response:Systematic light exposure using bright white light is a low cost and easily disseminable intervention that offers a feasible and potentially effective alternative to improve sleep in cancer survivors, particularly for those who are fatigued. Future large-scale studies are warranted.

MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: Lisa M. Wu, Ph.D. was lead author on the manuscript. William H. Redd, Ph.D. at the Icahn School of Medicine of Mount Sinai was the principal investigator of the study itself. This study was conducted at Mount Sinai.
Lisa Wu’s Primary Job Title: Assistant Professor

Lisa Wu’s Primary Affiliation: Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Member of the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center, Northwestern University

Lisa Wu’s Secondary Affiliation: Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at
Mount Sinai (where the study was conducted).
William Redd’s Affiliation: Professor, Department of Population Health Science and Policy, Icahn School of Medicine at
Mount Sinai.

Citations:

Lisa M. Wu, Ali Amidi, Heiddis Valdimarsdottir, Sonia Ancoli-Israel, Lianqi Liu, Gary Winkel, Emily E. Byrne, Ana Vallejo Sefair, Alejandro Vega, Katrin Bovbjerg, William H. Redd. The Effect of Systematic Light Exposure on Sleep in a Mixed Group of Fatigued Cancer Survivors. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2018; 14 (01): 31 DOI: 10.5664/jcsm.6874

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