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      Dose-response relationship for light intensity and ocular and electroencephalographic correlates of human alertness

      , , ,
      Behavioural Brain Research
      Elsevier BV

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          Abstract

          Light can elicit both circadian and acute physiological responses in humans. In a dose response protocol men and women were exposed to illuminances ranging from 3 to 9100 lux for 6.5 h during the early biological night after they had been exposed to <3 lux for several hours. Light exerted an acute alerting response as assessed by a reduction in the incidence of slow-eye movements, a reduction of EEG activity in the theta-alpha frequencies (power density in the 5-9 Hz range) as well as a reduction in self-reported sleepiness. This alerting response was positively correlated with the degree of melatonin suppression by light. In accordance with the dose response function for circadian resetting and melatonin suppression, the responses of all three indices of alertness to variations in illuminance were consistent with a logistic dose response curve. Half of the maximum alerting response to bright light of 9100 lux was obtained with room light of approximately 100 lux. This sensitivity to light indicates that variations in illuminance within the range of typical, ambient, room light (90-180 lux) can have a significant impact on subjective alertness and its electrophysiologic concomitants in humans during the early biological night.

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          Most cited references25

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          Regulation of mammalian circadian behavior by non-rod, non-cone, ocular photoreceptors.

          Circadian rhythms of mammals are entrained by light to follow the daily solar cycle (photoentrainment). To determine whether retinal rods and cones are required for this response, the effects of light on the regulation of circadian wheel-running behavior were examined in mice lacking these photoreceptors. Mice without cones (cl) or without both rods and cones (rdta/cl) showed unattenuated phase-shifting responses to light. Removal of the eyes abolishes this behavior. Thus, neither rods nor cones are required for photoentrainment, and the murine eye contains additional photoreceptors that regulate the circadian clock.
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            Light suppresses melatonin secretion in humans.

            Bright artificial light suppressed nocturnal secretion of melatonin in six normal human subjects. Room light of less intensity, which is sufficient to suppress melatonin secretion in other mammals, failed to do so in humans. In contrast to the results of previous experiments in which ordinary room light was used, these findings establish that the human response to light is qualitatively similar to that of other mammals.
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              Bright light effects on body temperature, alertness, EEG and behavior.

              The immediate psychophysiological and behavioral effects of photic stimulation on humans [bright light (BL) of 5K lux or dim light (DL) of 50 lux] were assessed in male subjects (N = 43) under four different conditions. For one condition the same subjects (N = 16) received alternating 90-min blocks of BL and DL during the nighttime h (2300-0800 h) under sustained wakefulness conditions. A second condition was similar to the first except that subjects (N = 8) received photic stimulation during the daytime hours. For the third and fourth conditions different subjects received either continuous BL (N = 10) or continuous DL (N = 9) during the nighttime hours. For the nighttime alternating condition body temperature decreased under DL but either increased or maintained under BL. For the continuous light condition, body temperature dropped sharply across the night under DL but dropped only slightly under BL. Sleepiness was considerably greater under DL than under BL, and the difference became larger as the night progressed. Similarly, alertness, measured by EEG beta activity, was greater under BL, and nighttime performance on behavioral tasks was also generally better. There were no differential effects between BL and DL on any measure during the daytime. These data indicate that light exerts a powerful, immediate effect on physiology and behavior in addition to its powerful influence on circadian organization.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Behavioural Brain Research
                Behavioural Brain Research
                Elsevier BV
                01664328
                October 2000
                October 2000
                : 115
                : 1
                : 75-83
                Article
                10.1016/S0166-4328(00)00236-9
                10996410
                5e3ed0bc-0d3a-4ead-9fed-dd06723cb182
                © 2000

                https://www.elsevier.com/tdm/userlicense/1.0/

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