Research Shows How Our Brain Is Influenced By Light

We are constantly looking for ways to make our brain work better, to be healthier. And sometimes, the solutions are both surprising and simple.

According to recent research, exposure to bright light improves learning and memory. The conclusion was reached by observing how prolonged exposure to dim light affected the brain of rats.

The study showed that their hypothalamus, the part of the brain that is essential to memory and learning, was seriously affected when they were kept in dim light for four weeks.

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Professor Antonio Nunez, one of the researchers behind the study said: “When we exposed the rats to dim light, mimicking the cloudy days of Midwestern winters or typical indoor lighting, the animals showed impairments in spatial learning. This is similar to when people can’t find their way back to their cars in a busy parking lot after spending a few hours in a shopping mall or movie theater.”

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The good news is that when the rats were exposed to bright light for four further weeks, their performance and brain capacity recovered completely.

The importance of natural bright light on the structure and function of our brain is relevant for many reasons. First of all, because people who work indoors, with dim office lights should try to compensate by exposing themselves to brighter, more natural lights.

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Second of all, these findings might bring hope to those suffering from eye diseases and to elderly people with cognitive impairment, who could be treated by exposing them to bright light. (The science behind is more complicated, so don’t try this at home!)

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