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MSU researcher says “Light Therapy” can fix body clock in cancer survivors

Patients can treat themselves without prescriptions from the comfort of their own home
Published: Oct. 6, 2020 at 5:34 PM EDT
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EAST LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - For most cancer patients, beating the disease is just a part of the journey.

Many of them deal with post-treatment symptoms, like an abnormal body clock or circadian rhythm. A researcher at Michigan State University says that can be fixed by light.

“It continues even years after they complete cancer treatment like radiation or chemotherapy,” said Horng-Shiuann Wu, an associate professor at the school’s College of Nursing.

She says nature inspired her research.

“As a human being, we are affected by the light/dark cycle from the environment. It resets what we call our biological clock,” said Wu.

She says light therapy can help.

“If we can normalize and reset the biological clock, we’ll be able to help the patient sleep better, then they’ll have a better mood and cognitive function,” she said.

All it takes is wearing a light kit on a hat for 30 minutes a day for two weeks.

A professor at Michigan State University says Light Therapy can help treat circadian rhythm...
A professor at Michigan State University says Light Therapy can help treat circadian rhythm abnormalities(WILX)

Patients can wear it in the morning if they’re a “night owl” and in the evening if they’re an early riser.

“It’s about 40 times an office light in an office," said Wu. "It’s like you’re facing the sun while driving. That’s how bright it is.”

But patients can treat themselves without prescriptions from the comfort of their own home.

Dr. Wu says she’s gotten positive reviews from patients. patients can treat themselves without prescriptions from the comfort of their own home.

“When a patient tells you it seems like it’s helping them, it’s a very remarkable moment for me, like all of the hard work is worth it.”

Dr. Wu says they’re expecting clinical results sometime next year.

She adds she hopes to be able to test the kit on men and people who have survived other forms of cancer.

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