The effect of blue light on post-stroke fatigue

Debilitating fatigue is a problem that is experienced by more than 50% of stroke survivors. We still understand very little about why fatigue occurs, and lack interventions that can reduce post-stroke fatigue.

One possibility is that exposure to short wavelength (blue) light reduces fatigue by increasing arousal and alertness. A small study in traumatic brain injury showed that patients randomised to a

4-week, 45-minutes per day schedule of blue light therapy had lower fatigue than patients exposed to either longer wavelength (yellow) light or no light (Sinclair et al., 2014).

This project will investigate whether exposure to blue light can reduce fatigue in community-dwelling stroke survivors. Participants randomised to the intervention will receive daily blue light exposure over 4 weeks, while controls will receive daily yellow light exposure. If found to be effective, this non- invasive, safe and inexpensive treatment will be tested in a larger, Phase III randomised trial.

Students will work within the Centre for Research Excellence in Stroke, based at the Florey Institute in Heidelberg.

Key references:

Sinclair, K. L., J. L. Ponsford, et al. (2014). "Randomized Controlled Trial of Light Therapy for Fatigue Following Traumatic Brain Injury." Neurorehabilitation and Neural Repair 28(4): 303-313.

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