Lighting Research Center Launches Light and Health Alliance

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has launched a new collaborative initiative—the Light and Health Alliance—to bridge the science of light and health to practical applications, and to provide objective information based on basic and applied research. The Alliance is led by Dr. Mariana Figueiro, LRC Light and Health Program director and associate professor at Rensselaer.

Light has a profound effect on health and wellbeing, including sleep, alertness, and performance. Humans need to be exposed to a sufficient amount of light of the right spectrum, for a sufficient amount of time, and at the right time, for the circadian system to remain synchronized with the 24-hour day. The LRC is researching light as a treatment for a variety of conditions, including jet lag, Alzheimer’s disease, insomnia and other sleep disorders, seasonal affective disorder and depression. Light can be used to improve sleep, alertness, and performance, along with overall health and wellbeing among the general population, and in populations with rigorous work schedules, such as submariners and night shift nurses. 

“Through this collaborative initiative, we will conduct evaluations, demonstrations, and research projects to develop practical devices and applications using light to improve people’s lives,” said Dr. Figueiro. “We will also hold seminars and present at conferences to educate key audiences and advance attention to light and health.”

The Light and Health Alliance is a collaboration among manufacturers, government organizations and NGOs, codes and standards bodies, along with architects, specifiers, medical facility managers and physicians, working to enable the broad adoption of lighting for human health by producing factual information based on basic and applied research and by visualizing future applications. Acuity Brands, Ketra, OSRAM SYLVANIA, and Philips are current members. Dr. Figueiro is seeking interested organizations to join this innovative program. Please email figuem@rpi.edu for details about becoming a member.

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