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Blue light bathing could prevent organ damage

By Tim Sandle     Apr 26, 2016 in Health
A new study has found exposing rodents to blue light for 24 hours prior to surgery helps to minimize the risk of the type of organ damage that can occur after an operation.
Post-operative organ failure is a medical risk and goes under the term "reperfusion injury." This describes the tissue damage caused when blood supply returns to the tissue after a period of ischemia or lack of oxygen (either anoxia or hypoxia.) Organs are damaged due to a combination of inflammation and oxidative damage (where toxins essentially build-up) or due to the immune system turning on specific organs.
A controlled study has shown that mice exposed to blue light for 24 hours before the blood supply to either their liver or kidney is temporarily blocked, then a lower incidence of reperfusion injury is recorded compared with situations when mice are exposed to light of different colors (wavelengths, in this case red and white light.)
The reason for this observed effect is because blue light appears to reduce the effects of the sympathetic nervous system. This part of the body is involved in stress responses. In turn, this slows down the response effect from immune cells and prevents them from turning on an organ. The effect is complex and involves a combination of intensity, duration of exposure of the light.
While the results were successful they did not, importantly, work on blind mice. This suggests that the response to blue light begins within the receptors of the eyes.
Whether the same effects will be seen in people will need to be tested through clinical trials. It could be, depending upon the outcome, that people will be bathing in blue light hours before having surgery performed.
The study was performed at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S. The findings have been published in the journal PNAS, in a paper titled "Blue light reduces organ injury from ischemia and reperfusion."
More about organ damage, Blue light, Surgery, Medical
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