Light Therapy Benefits Multiple Sclerosis Patients

Light therapy serves as a promising non-drug treatment option to treat fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

What is Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is almost always accompanied by fatigue, a massive tiredness that is described by the vast majority of patients as the most distressing symptom. In a recent scientific study, a research group led by Stefan Seidel from the Department of Neurology at MedUni Vienna and AKH Vienna identified.

For the first time, Stefan Seidel’s research team relied not only on surveys but also on objective measurements when selecting the test persons. For example, sleep-wake disorders were ruled out in the 26 participating MS patients, particularly with the assistance of various sleep medicine examinations. “In this manner, for example, we ensured that MS patients with fatigue do not suffer from sleep apnea or periodic leg movements during sleep. Both are sleep disorders that can lead to fatigue in everyday life,” elaborated study leader Stefan Seidel.

The test persons – all patients of the Neurology Department at MedUni Vienna and AKH Vienna – were equipped with commercially available light sources for self-testing at home: Half of the participants received a daylight lamp with a brightness of 10,000 lux, while the other half received an identical lamp that emitted a red light with an intensity of

While the red light used by the control group showed no effect, the researchers were able to observe measurable successes in the other group after only 14 days: In addition, the group of participants who had consumed bright light displayed less daytime sleepiness in comparison with the other group.

Fatigue in Multiple Sclerosis

In addition to behavioral measures, such as regular rest breaks, various medications are currently available to alleviate fatigue, but some of these are associated with severe side effects.


“The findings from our study represent a promising non-drug therapeutic approach,” Stefan Seidel affirms. However, the results still need to be confirmed in a subsequent larger-scale study. The exact background of the invigorating effect of light therapy on MS patients will also be the subject of further scientific research.

Source: Eurekalert

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