Four light-projects at Lund University

Can a vitamin D cure help suicidal patients?

A study of 59 suicidal patients showed that approximately 60 per cent of the patients suffered from a vitamin D deficiency, and that this was also linked to an increased inflammation in the body. Vitamin D deficiency and low vitamin D levels have previously been linked to mental illness, such as depression and psychosis. The research group, with participants from Lund University, the Van Andel Research Institute and Michigan State University in the US, has previously shown that increased inflammation in the body can be a contributing factor to depression and suicidal tendencies. In 2014 they found a connection between low vitamin D levels and increased inflammation in the blood. The research on vitamin D and mental health is still in its early stages and more studies are needed before any solid conclusions can be drawn, according to Cécile Grudet, doctoral student at Lund University in the field of vitamin D and suicidality.

Individually regulated light helps you become more alert

By using data on how much light you are exposed to throughout the day, a computer is to calculate exactly what extra doses of light you need be alert in the morning. The goal of the newly established Light Correction Project is to develop a system to primarily block the sleep hormone in the morning. The idea is to collect light radiation data (total dose of light radiation throughout the day) from a sensor that is worn like a watch on your wrist. All your data is then sent to a central computer for analysis. You will then receive the supplemental light you need at home in the evening and in the morning, in terms of intensity, colour and temperature. The project is a collaboration between environmental psychologist Thorbjörn Laike’s group and The Lighting Research Center in Troy, USA.

Can the right lighting make senior living residents feel better?

Through the Retirement Home Project professor of Environmental Psychology Thorbjörn Laike and his group are studying how new energy-efficient lighting systems affect the welfare of the elderly. Old people often have a more difficult time getting outside, and research shows that certain types of depression among senior citizens may be related to the lack of light. Light is therefore a significant factor of their living environment. The group studies how old people feel and sleep. The project is carried out together with researchers studying what the elderly eat, and various other health aspects. The goal is to improve the lighting conditions in a retirement home environment while reducing energy consumption.

Complex light solutions may counteract energy saving

Advanced Lighting Solutions for Retrofitting Buildings is an international project, funded by the International Energy Agency (IEA), in which Lund University participates. These days when renovating buildings, the aim is both to save energy and create a good indoor environment by optimising the use of lighting and daylight. In the project, Marie Claude Dubois and her colleagues in the field of energy and building design studied how well the goal has been achieved in connection with various major building renovations. They found examples showing that the energy savings were not as great as one might expect; rather, new problems had emerged by using complex solutions that were not fully coordinated.

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