This medical video looks into how being exposed to UVA1 Light could help lupus therapy.
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Jennifer Matthews: Maricela Villarreal has been soaking up the rays in this bed for two years. Maricela Villarreal: It's very relaxing because when you get in there, you just kind of chill out for 20 minutes and you go. Jennifer Matthews: She's not tanning though. This is therapy for lupus. Maricela was up to twenty pills a day to fight the fatigue, headaches and joint pain that come with the disease. Maricela Villarreal: I didn't want to get on all those pills again, and I was willing to try anything at that point. Jennifer Matthews: Doctor Hugh McGrath offered her ultraviolet A-1 light therapy. Sunlight triggers the disabling symptoms of lupus, but when a specific wavelength is excluded, the light that's left improves the disease. Dr. Hugh McGrath: The longer wavelengths make patients better and the shorter wavelengths make patients worse. Jennifer Matthews: Those long wavelengths also have a profound impact on the brain. Here, you see diminished brain activity. When a patient is treated with UVA1 light, the brain returns to normal. Dr. Hugh McGrath: They have fewer headaches, and they have fewer other signs and symptoms. They begin to concentrate better. Jennifer Matthews: Maricela loves the simplicity of the light treatment. Maricela Villarreal: It's just helped my energy level and helped my confidence. It is night and day. Jennifer Matthews: With less pain and fewer pills, she's staying one step ahead of the disease. This is Jennifer Matthews reporting.