BLUE LIGHT THERAPY FOR MILD TBI
Individuals with concussion, a type of mild traumatic brain injury (mTBI), may experience better sleep and less incidence of depression through blue light therapy. Concussion is a common form of mTBI; athletes and military members are groups that experience concussions most frequently. Any fall, blow, or head trauma in which one's head is violently jolted or shaken can result in a concussion.
Daily blue wavelength light exposure is being studied and used to improve sleep habits after concussion, a condition that can produce sleep disruption in up to 80% of people (Raikes et al., 2019). The blue light therapy can be administered with a cube-like device that projects bright blue light. In a 2020 study, individuals used the light-producing device for 30 minutes in the early morning for up to 6 weeks (Killgore et al., 2020). Results included better sleep and less daytime drowsiness as well as improved cognitive function. Blue light is effective in suppressing melatonin production in the brain; this can reset one's circadian rhythm sleep-wake cycle, leading to better sleep patterns. Killgore said the therapy also induces healing in the brain by strengthening neural connections and communication flow.
The United States Army Medical Research and Development Command funded Killgore's research, aiming to discover nonmedicinal treatment for minor traumatic brain injury.
Killgore, W. D. S., Vanuk, J. R., Shane, B. R., Weber, M., & Bajaj, S. (2020). A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of blue wavelength light exposure on sleep and recovery of brain structure, function, and cognition following mild traumatic brain injury. Neurobiology of Disease, 134, 104679. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.nbd.2019.104679
Raikes, A. C., Satterfield, B. C., Bajaj, S., Grandner, M. A., & Killgore, W. (2019). Daily blue light therapy reduces daytime sleepiness and post-concussion symptoms after mild traumatic brain injury. Sleep, 42(Suppl. 1). https://doi.org/10.1093/sleep/zsz067.933
DISASTER-PROOFING MEDICATION DELIVERY
A drone's delivery of insulin from Galway, Ireland, to a patient on the Aran Islands has prompted hope that severe weather or natural disasters won't impede care for patients in remote locations. A multinational team of endocrinologists, pharmaceutical advisors, a drone company, and telecommunications personnel collaborated on the project.
In September 2019, the drone flew for 16 minutes to successfully deliver insulin to a person with diabetes who lives 12 miles off the Irish coast. The effort encompassed a year of planning and approvals from aviation, pharmaceutical, and clinical regulatory groups.
The project grew out of a desire to provide care for people with diabetes in disaster situations, such as severe storms experienced in Ireland, according to the project's chief investigator, a consultant endocrinologist at the National University of Ireland Galway.
For the drone delivery, insulated, temperature-monitored packaging was devised; a blood sample to check the patient's hemoglobin A1C level came back to the mainland with the drone. The insulin package also was locked in case the medication ended up at the wrong destination.
Endocrinologists consider the project's success as a “milestone in improving patient care” (Endocrine Society, 2020). An abstract of the project will be published in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the Endocrinology Society.
Endocrine Society. (2020, March 27). Diabetes care reaches new heights as drone delivers insulin for patient [Press release]. https://www.endocrine.org/news-and-advocacy/news-room/2020/diabetes-care-reaches-new-heights-as-drone-delivers-insulin-for-patient
LEARNING TO LAMENT
When life's circumstances produce spiritual and emotional dark clouds, Mark Vroegop (2019) advocates embracing the practice of lament as a divinely given liturgy that leads to mercy.
This historic song gives you permission to vocalize your pain as it moves you toward God-centered worship and trust. Lament is how you live between the poles of a hard life and trusting in God's sovereignty. Lament is how we bring our sorrow to God. Without lament we won't know how to process pain. Silence, bitterness, and even anger can dominate our spiritual lives instead.
Without lament we won't know how to help people walking through sorrow. Instead, we'll offer trite solutions, unhelpful comments, or impatient responses. What's more, without this sacred song of sorrow, we'll miss the lessons historic laments are intended to teach us. Lament is how Christians grieve. It is how to help hurting people. Lament is how we learn important truths about God and our world. (p. 21)
Vroegop, M. (2019). Dark clouds, deep mercy: Discovering the grace of lament. Crossway.
PulseBeats compiled by Karen Schmidt.