Special lighting will help to cope with insomnia in Alzheimer's

Violation of daily biorhythms is one of the risk factors in the development of many diseases, including depression, obesity, diabetes, cancer, heart disease, etc. Experts from the Salk Institute for biological research (USA) found in the retina of the eye cells involved in the formation of day and night cycles for the first time. 

In addition to the cells that provide the ability to see, there are other types of cells in the retina called photosensitive retinal ganglion cells (ipRGCs). Their aim is not to create visual images in the cortex, but to form connections between external light and the brain, to control biorhythms. 

The study showed that there are three types of ipRGCs cells in the human retina, differing in the rate of "on" and "off" when light hits the retina. Cells of the first type were quickly "turning on", but slowly "turning off".  ipRGCs of the second type were both slower at "turning on", and "turning off". Cells of the third type reacted only to very bright light and instantly "turned off" when it disappeared.   

ipRGCs cells respond to light even in blind people in the complete absence of rods and cones. This indicates a fundamentally different nature and function of these neurons. At the same time, experiments have shown that the detected cells can take part in the formation of visual images, adjusting their saturation and brightness. 

Experts believe: acting on ipRGCs-cells can restore daily biorhythms in people suffering from various diseases. Further research will help to develop individual rhythms of light exposure to the retina, which will depend on the diseases and characteristics of the patient. According to scientists, this technology will also help to cope with insomnia and restore biorhythms in patients with Alzheimer's disease, which will help slow the progression of the disease. 

Dec. 9, 2019, 1:08 p.m.

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