Researchers at Michigan State University studied the brains of rodents after exposing them to dim and bright light for a month. They found that consistent exposure to dim or bright light affected their brains differently. From Science News:

The rodents exposed to dim light lost about 30% of capacity in the hippocampus, a critical brain region for learning and memory, and performed poorly on a spatial task they had trained on previously.

The animals exposed to bright light, on the other hand, showed significant improvement on the spatial task.

The results have some interesting potential applications for the elderly and people with poor vision and cognitive impairments:

Dr. Yan said: “for people with eye disease who don’t receive much light, can we directly manipulate this group of neurons in the brain, bypassing the eye, and provide them with the same benefits of bright light exposure?”

“Another possibility is improving the cognitive function in the aging population and those with neurological disorders. Can we help them recover from the impairment or prevent further decline?”

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