Light as medicine? – questions for the BioClock consortium
A good biorhythm is very important for well-being and health. Our biological clock is disrupted because the natural day-night rhythm of light and dark is under severe pressure in modern society. Circadian rhythm disturbance has been associated with a variety of diseases and conditions such as obesity, metabolic syndrome, sleep disorders, depression and cancer. The activity of the immune system is also subject to a day-night rhythm. The question is whether these correlations have a causal relationship, and - more importantly - whether the effects can be influenced by light exposure. In other words: can light be used as a medicine? The importance of sufficient daylight for well-being and health is explicitly brought to the attention by various organizations, including the Good Light Group. Also evidence is given that light has a beneficial effect on well-being in the treatment of some forms of depression with light therapy.
The question is whether “photoceuticals” are just as good or perhaps better than “pharmaceuticals” for some conditions. Is it conceivable that light therapy is incorporated in the treatment modalities of obesity and cancer? And can the immune system be influenced by light? Intriguing questions, which in turn require thorough scientific research. Scientists from different disciplines have joined forces in the BioClock Consortium to answer these questions. The Good Light Group is one of the partners within this partnership. How do we keep our biological clock healthy? That question recently resulted in a subsidy of € 9.7 million for the consortium. It is one of the projects that receive funding within the National Science Agenda (NWA) program of the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO), for which the public was invited to submit questions to be addressed by the scientists. That will probably result in great answers.
Aart Mudde, internist-endocrinologist, mental health doctor and trainer-coach at “Soepel Samenwerken”.