High light intensity is now a potential cure for heart disease 


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 Heart diseases affect a major chunk of the world population. In US alone, 610,000 people die annually due to cardiac problems – that’s 1 in every 4 deaths. 

Photo by CDC

Over the years, scientists have found various therapies to treat heart related problems. Recently, another treatment has sprung up – Intense Light, which can serve as an effective way of boosting heart health. 

According to a study published in Cell Reports by researchers from the University of Colorado, intense light therapy may help reduce the extent of tissue damage during a heart attack. The experiment conducted on mice showed improvements in post heart-attack health of the ones exposed to intense light for a week. 

Intense light boosts the functions of PER2 gene – which is expressed by the part of the brain that controls cardiac function.  Due to the heightened activity of the gene, the heart received extra protection during oxygen deprivation, especially during a heart attack.  

Moreover, the light also increased cardiac adenosine – a special chemical that helps in regulating blood flow. Together, they both led to an improved heart health. The therapy did, however, prove ineffective in blind mice – making the ability to physically perceive light vital for the effectiveness of the treatment.   

Even though, the experiment was carried out on mice, scientists believe the possibility of the treatment proving fruitful for humans is considerably high. Dr. Tobias Eckle, senior author of the study and the professor of anesthesiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora, said, “We already knew that intense light can protect against heart attacks, but now we have found the mechanism behind it “. 

A mini experiment was also carried out on humans. Healthy volunteers were exposed to high intensity light for 30 minutes on 5 consecutive mornings. The results showed an increase in the PER2 levels in their body, improving metabolism.  

Eckle also elaborated on prior studies, stating that more people experienced a heart attack during darker months of winter, even in sunny states like Arizona and Hawaii.  

 


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