August 6, 2013
Science Daily/Ohio State University
When it comes to some of the health hazards of light at night, a new study in hamsters suggests that the color of the light can make a big difference.
In a study involving hamsters, researchers found that blue light had the worst effects on mood-related measures, followed closely by white light.
But hamsters exposed to red light at night had significantly less evidence of depressive-like symptoms and changes in the brain linked to depression, compared to those that experienced blue or white light. The only hamsters that fared better than those exposed to red light were those that had total darkness at night.
The findings may have important implications for humans, particularly those whose work on night shifts makes them susceptible to mood disorders, said Randy Nelson, co-author of the study and professor of neuroscience and psychology at The Ohio State University.
"Our findings suggest that if we could use red light when appropriate for night-shift workers, it may not have some of the negative effects on their health that white light does," Nelson said.