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Understanding the Mechanisms of Blue Light Exposure on Cognitive Performance

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Technical Report,25 Feb 2019,24 Feb 2020

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University of Arizona Tucson United States

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Military personnel often face challenging situations, including being sleep deprived, having to remain focused and undistracted for long periods of time and having to respond quickly and precisely in response to different critical situations. Being able to sustain attention, even when one is sleep deprived, remain positive and calm, and being able to respond quickly, are all of crucial importance to mission success. Blue light exposure seems to be a safe and easily implemented tool to improve attention, increase cognitive functioning and enhance mood. However, the exact mechanism that explains these beneficial effects is currently unknown. Lack of knowledge makes it impossible to provide exact recommendations for how to best use blue light exposure. It is also unclear how quickly after bluelight onset measurable changes in the brain are present and how they correlate with subjective and objective changes in alertness, cognitive functioning and mood. The results from this study will provide information on the exact mechanisms that underlie the positive effects of blue light exposure. Answers to these crucial questions will make it considerably easier to provide targeted and informed recommendations for how to best use blue light across a wide variety of settings in order to improve cognitive functioning.

Subject Categories:

  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Medicine and Medical Research

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