【英語島讀書會】「光照」可以治療憂鬱,未來還可能緩解阿茲海默

我們都知道晚上睡覺避開光源,褪黑激素才能正常分泌,睡眠品質也才會好,但身體也有需要對褪黑激素「喊卡」的時候,此時光照療法就派上用場。
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Photo credit: 世界公民文化中心提供
Photo credit: 世界公民文化中心提供
評論

本文由 世界公民文化中心 提供,收錄於 英語島  English Island 2017 年  5 月號,以中英對照的方式,讓讀者接觸新知同時也能練習英語 。INSIDE 獲授權刊登,更多資訊請見 世界公民文化中心粉絲專頁

我們都知道晚上睡覺避開光源,褪黑激素才能正常分泌,睡眠品質也才會好,但身體也有需要對褪黑激素「喊卡」的時候,此時光照療法就派上用場。

 

You might have known this already—bright light may cut the production of melatonin, and we should turn off the lights before going to sleep. Melatonin, a neuro-hormone that (1) regulates our sleep and wake patterns, is vital to our basic functioning as humans. Eating, walking, talking—even just staying alert through the day—all depend on whether you’ve received enough melatonin during the night.
你或許知道,光源可能阻斷身體製造褪黑激素,所以睡前最好關燈。褪黑激素是調節睡眠和清醒模式的神經激素,對人類身體的基本運作至關重要:吃飯,走路,說話,甚至只是在一天中保持警覺,這一切都取決於你是否在夜間獲得足夠的褪黑激素。

“But as it turns out, giving the right light to people during the day may be just as important as removing it at night,” reports Good Magazine. “’During winter, there’s a greater (2) duration of melatonin,’” explains Dr. Alfred Lewy, one of the pioneering researchers of light therapy. Patients with SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) experience a ‘drift,’ or lag, in their internal body clock, due to the slow onset of dawn in winter. ‘Our clock is cued to that first bright light exposure in the morning when we wake up; it resets our 24-hour rhythm.’ As a result, he concludes that “people with SAD needed bright light exposure in the morning to reset their clock.”
但事實證明,晚上關閉光源跟白天獲得正確光源對人體一樣重要。美國 Good Magazine 報導,在冬天,褪黑激素持續的時間更長。光照療法研究先驅之一, Alfred Lewy 博士說明,SAD(季節性情緒失調)的患者的會感受到生理時鐘「漂移」或速度減慢,因為冬天黎明是緩緩開始的。「早晨的第一道亮光會發送信號給我們的生理時鐘,重置二十四小時的規律。」因此他結論出 SAD 患者需要暴露在明亮光線下,以重新設定生理時鐘。

In Portland, up to 15 percent of the population suffers from SAD, according to Good Magazine. A local, former patient Sherrie Baxter says that the light therapy—“which involved being exposed to a box-like contraption that (3) emitted bright beams of white light at (4) designated times during the day—made “a huge difference.” But the US$1000 light box is too expensive for most. Sherrie eventually built her own line of light boxes, Bio-Light. “Today, Bio-Light light boxes are shipped all over the world and recommended by doctors who work in the field; they’re even used at light therapy research centers.
Good Magazine 報導,在波特蘭,高達百分之十五的人口都為季節性情緒失調所苦。過去也患有此症的當地人 Sherrie Baxter 形容光療是進到一個會在特定時間放射白色亮光束的箱型機器,她覺得治療效果大有幫助。但是一個燈箱要價一千美金,對大多數人來說實在太貴,Sherrie 最終研發出自己的燈箱產品線, Bio-Light。時至今日,Bio-Light 的燈箱可配送至全世界,獲得該領域醫師推薦,也用於光療研究中心。

“Traditionally, the function of light therapy has been limited to winter mood-boosting—but that’s changing.” Researchers in San Diego in 2015 found that “exposure to light lessened depression, regardless of the season”. Similar results were found in studies done on women experiencing premenstrual syndrome. And just last month, the BBC reported that light therapy is even being tested to fight the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
過去光照療法只限於改善冬季低落的情緒,但現在已有所不同。聖地牙哥的研究者在 2015 年發現,不論季節,接受光照都有助於減輕憂鬱。針對經前症候群女性的實驗中也發現類似結果。而就在上月, BBC 報導指出光療甚至已經測試於抗阿茲海默症。

Vocabulary

(1) Regulate 調節
This system can regulate the temperature of the room. 這種系統能調節室內溫度 .

(2) Duration 持續時間
The school was used as a hospital for the duration of the war. 戰爭期間這所學校被用作醫院。

(3) Emit 發射
A volcano emits smoke and ash. 火山散發著煙和灰。

(4) Designated 指定的
Fire extinguishers are kept at designated places. 滅火器放在指定地點。