In this medical video learn how professionals are using lighting to combat the effects of Alzheimer's Disease.
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Jennifer Mathews: Caregivers say these Alzheimer's patients talk to each other more than they used to. Diana Earhart: I think the residents are less anxious. They're not as combative. They've just been more on an even keel. Jennifer Mathews: Diana Earhart says it's the new lighting that's made a difference. Last year, this living area was dim and dreary. Thanks to new skylights and fluorescent and metal halide fixtures; the room is 20 times brighter than before. Eunice Noell-Waggoner got the project off the ground. Eunice Noell: By having more light coming into your eyes it suppresses the flow of melatonin in the morning. Jennifer Mathews: Which in turn improves mood and helps you sleep better at night. Many studies have shown the connection, but this is the first time researchers have made such a dramatic change in an Alzheimer's center. Susan Hickman: We actually put the lights in the common areas in the facilities so that residents can go about their daily lives without any change in their routine and still be exposed to the lighting. Jennifer Mathews: The renovations cost about $500,000. The research leading up to it was funded by the National Institutes of Health. But researchers say there is a cheaper way to get even more light. Even on this cloudy day, natural sunlight was three-times brighter than the new lighting inside. This is Jennifer Mathews reporting.