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Parkinson’s Disease
Volume 2012, Article ID 767105, 9 pages
Review Article

Bright Light Therapy in Parkinson's Disease: An Overview of the Background and Evidence

1Department of Psychiatry, VU University Medical Center, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, VU University Medical Center, Van der Boechorststraat 7, 1081 BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3Department of Neurology, VU University Medical Center, 1007 MB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
4Department of Sleep and Cognition, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Meibergdreef 47, 1105 BA Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 27 September 2012; Revised 16 November 2012; Accepted 21 November 2012

Academic Editor: Douglas Mckay Wallace

Copyright © 2012 Sonja Rutten et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Sleep disorders are common in Parkinson's disease (PD) and seem to be strongly associated with depression. It has been suggested that sleep disorders as well as depression are caused by a disturbed circadian rhythm. Indeed, PD patients are prone to misalignment of their circadian rhythm due to various factors, and many patients with PD display a phase advance of their circadian rhythm. Current treatment options for sleep disorders and depression in patients with PD are limited and can have serious side effects; alternative treatments are therefore badly needed. Bright light therapy (BLT) restores circadian rhythmicity effectively in mood- and sleep-disturbed patients without PD. The few studies that focused on the efficacy of BLT in patients with PD demonstrated a positive effect of BLT not only on sleep and mood but also on motor function. More research on the neurobiology and efficacy of BLT in PD is warranted.