Intermittent Light Exposures in Humans: A Case for Dual Entrainment in the Treatment of Alzheimer's Disease

Mariana G. Figueiro, Sagan Leggett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Circadian sleep disorders are common among American adults and can become especially acute among older adults, especially those living with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and mild cognitive impairment (MCI), leading to the exacerbation of symptoms and contributing to the development and advancement of the diseases. This review explores the connections between circadian sleep disorders, cognition, and neurodegenerative disease, offering insights on rapidly developing therapeutic interventions employing intermittent light stimuli for improving sleep and cognition in persons with AD and MCI. Light therapy has the potential to affect sleep and cognition via at least two pathways: (1) a regular and robust light-dark pattern reaching the retina that promotes circadian phase shifting, which can promote entrainment and (2) 40 Hz flickering light that promotes gamma-wave entrainment. While this is a new area of research, preliminary evidence shows the potential of dual circadian and gamma-wave entrainment as an important therapy not only for those with AD, but for others with cognitive impairment.

Original languageEnglish
Article number625698
JournalFrontiers in Neurology
StatePublished - 9 Mar 2021


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • circadian entrainment
  • flashing light
  • gamma entrainment
  • memory
  • sleep


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