New research conducted on mice shows us that intensive light therapy helps with heart disease. It heals tissue damage caused during heart attacks. The study, published in Cell Reports, exposed lab mice to light therapy for one week post heart attack. After this, the state of their heart tissue had improved.
Researchers think that this procedure can also help humans.
Dr. Tobias Eckle, Professor of Anesthesiology teaching at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, is the study’s senior researcher. He says that it is known that light exposure speeds up recovery after a heart attack. Through this study, the reason behind that becomes clear.
How Intense Light Therapy Helps Heart Disease
During the study, researchers noticed that intense light exposure has a particular effect on the PER2 gene. PER2 is the gene which controls the circadian rhythms in the brain. The gene gets boosted through light. The heart receives an extra form of protection when it comes to oxygen level issues. A common issue that accompanies a heart attack.
Furthermore, intense light is good for the heart because it increases the production of cardiac adenosine. This is a specialized chemical that aids with blood flow regulation.
An interesting observation from the study was that the mice had to be able to perceive the light themselves. Intense lighting post-heart attack had no effects on blind mice.
Researchers wanted to see if the same model could be applied to humans.
Volunteers were exposed to half an hour of intense lighting (10,000 lumens) for five mornings. During this exposure, researchers drew a little blood from each volunteer.
The blood samples showed that the effect in humans was the same as the effect in mice. PER2 levels had gone up. Along with that, a faster metabolism.
Dr. Eckle claims that light not only plays these specific roles but also has a significant effect on cardiac health as a whole.
Previous studies also indicate that Americans are more likely to experience heart attacks during wintertime (times of less light).
Heart disease is a big problem in the U.S.
Heart disease is the cause of 1 in every 4 deaths in Americans. Approximately 610,000 people die because of heart disease annually. The most common form of heart disease is coronary heart disease. Around 735,000 people have a heart in America yearly.
Reducing the possibility of having a heart attack can be done in many ways. Common ways are moderating one’s diet or being physically active. However, it is still of great importance for the medical community to find more ways to protect the cardiac health in America.
This study on the use of intense light being good for the heart is a good start. It can also aid in making sure the treatments of heart patients in the future include the best techniques.
Dr. Eckle’s comments point out that it is necessary to define the relationship between intense light therapy and cardiac health. Furthermore, how this can be taken further to aid heart patients and bring down the rate of heart disease in America.