Intense light may boost heart health

 

The recent study shows that exposing lab mice to intense light for a week improved their outcomes after heart attacks. The resesarch also suggested that this could benefit humans.

"We already knew that intense light can protect against heart attacks, but now we have found the mechanism behind it," says the study's senior author Dr. Tobias Eckle, professor of anesthesiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora.

Boosting specific gene protects heart

 

Researchers discovered that intense light influences the functions of the PER2 gene, which is expressed by a part of the brain that controls circadian rhythms.

By boosting this gene through intesne light therapy, the mice's heart tissue received extra protection when it experienced issues with oxygen, such as a heart attack. The intense light also heightened cardiac adenosine, which helps with blood flow regulation. 

Interestingly, researchers found that being able to physically perceive light was vital, as blind mice experienced no benefits.

Humans had similar benefits

 

Following on from mice, the researchers repeated the experiment with humans. Healthy human volunteers were exposed to 10,000 lumens of light for 30 minutes, and blood was drawn several times.

The researchers discovered that PER2 levels increased in response to the light therapy in the human participants as it did in the mice. Human volunteers also saw a decreased level of plasma triglycerides and improved metabolism.

Dr. Eckle explained that light plays an essential part in human health in both regulating the cicardian rhythm and in cardiovascular health. He added that according to prior studies, more people throughout the U.S. experience heart attacks during the darker months of winter.

 

Heart disease and its impact on U.S. adults

 

Heart disease is widespread throughout the United States, with around 610,000 people dying from heart disease yearly - this accounts for 1 in 4 deaths. Coronary heart disease is the most common form, and around 735,000 people in the U.S. experience a heart attack yearly. 

Chest pain is a well known symptom of a heart attack. Other symptoms include shortness of breath, upper body pain, nausea, cold sweats, lightheadedness, and discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach.  

Diet and exercise can reduce a person's risk of developing heart disease, but more research is underway to discover new ways to protect the cardiovascular system. 

This study using intense light highlights how something seemingly unrelated to heart health can have such protective benefits.

This study could have a significant impact on the treatment of heart patients in the future. Eckle says that "if the therapy is given before high risk cardiac and non-cardiac surgery, it could offer protection against injury to the heart muscle which can be fatal."

Eckle believes there are other possibilities, too, adding that "drugs could also be developed that offer similar protections based on these findings. However, future studies in humans will be necessary to understand the impact of intense light therapy and its potential for cardio protection."

 

 https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/326074.php

Dogs: Our best friends in sickness and in health

Dogs: Our best friends in sickness and in health

Dogs have been the focus of many scientific studies into how
they boost our wellbeing. In this article we will look into how ...

Deep sleep can rewire the anxious brain

The ways astronauts prep for spaceflight could benefit cancer patients, say researchers

News

A new study has revealed that microorganisms in our gut may help protect brain cells from damage caused by inflammation after a stroke.

A preliminary study has revealed that when deprived of one night of sleep, young, healthy men had higher levels of tau in their blood. Tau is a biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease.

There are around 83.3 million owned dogs in the United States alone, and in recent years, organisations the world over have begun training dogs to detect medical conditions in humans.

Scientists from UCLA have discovered a reason that autoimmune diseases are more common in women than in men. Males inherit their mother’s X chromosome and father’s Y chromosome, while females inherit X chromosomes from both parents.

The COMPLEMENTARY MEDICAL ASSOCIATION (The CMA) © 2012. No part of this site may be reproduced without the express permission of The Complementary Medical Association. If used without prior consent a charge of US $1,000 per article, or mini section is paid (US $50 per word (minimum) will be charged. This is not meant to reflect a commercial rate for the content, but as a punitive cost and to reimburse The CMA for legal fees and time costs). Use of the contents, without permission will be taken as consent to bill the illegal user in full.