Scientists at John Carroll University, working in its Lighting Innovations Institute, have developed an affordable accessory that appears to reduce the symptoms of ADHD. Their discovery also has also been shown to improve sleep patterns among people who have difficulty falling asleep. The John Carroll researchers have created glasses designed to block blue light, therefore altering a person's circadian rhythm, which leads to improvement in ADHD symptoms and sleep disorders.
How the Glasses Work: Jumpstarting Melatonin Production
The individual puts on the glasses a couple of hours ahead of bedtime, advancing the circadian rhythm. The special glasses block the blue rays that cause a delay in the start of the flow of melatonin, the sleep hormone. Normally, melatonin flow doesn't begin until after the individual goes into darkness.
Studies indicate that promoting the earlier release of melatonin results in a marked decline of ADHD symptoms.
Alternative Uses: Better Sleep/Disease Prevention/Depression Relief
Major uses of the blue-blocking glasses include: providing better sleep, avoiding postpartum depression, preventing Seasonal Affective Disorder and reducing the risk of cancer.
An alternative to the glasses has also been developed in the form of night lights and light bulbs with coatings that block the blue light. Instead of wearing the glasses, an individual may simply turn off ordinary lights and, instead, turn on the ones with filters that remove the blue rays. The night light is a convenient "plug-in" device. The cost of the items ranges from approximately $5 for light bulbs and night lights to $40-$60 for glasses.
Advancing the circadian rhythm has been shown to improve both objective and subjective measures of ADHD symptoms in studies at the University of Toronto. Twenty-nine adults diagnosed with ADHD participated in a three-week trial.
Dr. Richard Hansler is the lead John Carroll University researcher in the development and uses for the blue-blocking glasses. He is one of the principle owners of a company that makes these new products available via the web site: www.lowbluelights.com. Dr. Hansler can be reached at 216.397.1657.
John Carroll University, located in Cleveland, Ohio, is a liberal arts university grounded in the Jesuit, Catholic tradition. The university has more than 3,000 undergraduates and nearly 700 graduate students. The U.S. News & World Report's 2008 annual college guide ranks the master's degree program at John Carroll University among the top 10 universities across the Midwest. The university is ranked 13th in the "Great Schools, Great Prices" category which compares academic excellence with cost. Originally founded as St. Ignatius College in 1886, the university was renamed in 1923 to honor America's first Catholic bishop, John Carroll of Maryland. John Carroll is one of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities located in the United States.