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Maggio, R., Vaglini, F., Rossi, M., Fasciani, I., Pietrantoni, I., Marampon, F., et al. (2019). Parkinson's disease and light: The bright and the Dark sides. Brain Res Bull, 150, 290–296.
Abstract: Light exerts a major influence on human behaviour and health, mainly owing to the importance of sight in our lives, but also due to its entrainment of daily rhythms via the suprachiasmatic nucleus, the master pacemaker. Light may also be a useful clinical medium, as in lumino-therapy for the improvement of depressed mood. Further, as discussed herein, local application of near infrared light to the substantia nigra exerts neuroprotective properties in models of Parkinson's disease. However, light also has a darker side. In general, as regards the growing problem to human health – and the natural world – of excess exposure to artificial light: both urban glow and ubiquitous screens. Moreover, over-exposure to light, in particular fluorescent light, disrupts circadian rhythms and sleep, and may damage dopaminergic neurons. Is it, then, a neglected risk factor for Parkinson's disease? The present article discusses epidemiological and experimental evidence supporting beneficial and potentially deleterious impact of light on dopaminergic neurons and highlights the mechanisms whereby light might influence neuronal tissue.