Blue light therapy in adults with a history of traumatic brain injury Original paper

In this meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials, blue light therapy improved sleep disturbances and depressive symptoms in adults with a history of traumatic brain injury. However, these findings were based largely on trials of poor methodological quality.

This Study Summary was published on January 5, 2023.


Individuals with traumatic brain injury (TBI) often experience mood, cognitive, and functional impairments, with symptoms that include sleep abnormalities, depressed mood, and fatigue. One potential treatment option for these post-TBI symptoms is blue-wavelength light therapy (BWLT). However, its efficacy required further research..

The study

This meta-analysis of 6 randomized controlled trials examined the effect of BWLT on post-TBI sleepiness, sleep disturbances, depressive symptoms, and fatigue in a total of 278 men and women with a history of TBI (average ages of 23–44).

The severity of TBI was mild in 2 trials, mild–severe in 2 trials, moderate–severe in 1 trial, and severe in 1 trial. The average length of time after TBI ranged from 29 days to 10 years. The comparator was long-wavelength light therapy or no light therapy. The intervention duration ranged from 10 to 60 days.

The results

BWLT reduced sleep disturbances (medium effect size) and depressive symptoms (large effect size). However, in sensitivity analyses that excluded 3 trials with a high risk of bias, the aforementioned beneficial effects became statistically nonsignificant.

The certainty of the evidence was moderate for depressive symptoms and low or very low for all other outcomes.

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This Study Summary was published on January 5, 2023.