You want your baby to start living healthy and happy. However, things happen, and your baby can potentially become sick. Jaundice is one of the most common conditions that affect newborn babies, and it’s estimated 6 out of every 10 babies develop jaundice.
Jaundice is usually a harmless condition in newborns that causes yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes. This condition occurs when there’s a build-up of bilirubin in the blood. Biliburn is a yellow substance produced during the normal breakdown process of the red blood cells. The liver removes bilirubin from the blood in children and adults, passing it through the bowels and exiting the body.
However, a newborn baby’s liver cannot remove bilirubin as easily as an adult. This can create a build-up of bilirubin if the newborn has problems processing it and passing it through the body.
While most jaundice cases go away on their own, some newborns need help to lower bilirubin levels in the body.
What Causes Jaundice?
Jaundice can occur in a newborn for different reasons:
Physiological jaundice: the most common reason for jaundice in newborns is due to an immature liver. Jaundice usually occurs 2 to 3 days of age, disappears one week or two, and is harmless.
Breastfeeding jaundice: breastfeeding jaundice can occur when the newborn doesn’t consume enough breastmilk. It occurs in 5-10% of newborns.
Breast-milk jaundice: breast-milk jaundice occurs in 1-2% of breast-fed babies. It happens when some mothers produce a specific substance in their breastmilk. This substance causes the newborn’s intestines to absorb the bilirubin back into the body. This usually occurs within the first week of birth and goes away within two weeks - it’s not harmful.
Blood group incompatibility (Rh or ABO problems): if the newborn and mother have different blood types, the mother can produce antibodies that can destroy the newborn’s red blood cells. It causes an immediate buildup of bilirubin in the newborn’s body, occurring during the first 24-hours of life. It’s a severe form of jaundice.
How Is Jaundice Diagnosed?
Doctors can easily spot a baby with jaundice based on the yellowing of the skin and the whites of their eyes. Typically, newborns are checked for jaundice prior to leaving the hospital.
Babies who contract jaundice undergo blood tests to check for bilirubin levels. High levels of bilirubin have the potential to become serious.
Treatments for Jaundice
Most cases of jaundice disappear within a week or two of treatment. However, some cases are quite serious and need to undergo treatment.
Light treatment aids with eliminating bilirubin in the blood. The baby’s skin absorbs the wavelengths, altering bilirubin which can pass easily through their bowels.
Phototherapy treatment has long been used to treat jaundice, with a row of lights or a spotlight directed at the undressed newborn from a healthy distance. Two soft eye patches are applied over the eyes for protection. Luckily, today’s technology of phototherapy can deliver effective treatment without any of the former inconveniences.
We live in a 24-hour environment, in which light and darkness follow a diurnal pattern. Our circadian pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN) in the hypothalamus, is entrained to the 24-hour solar day via a pathway from the retina and synchronizes our internal biological rhythms. Once we come to this world, one of the first things we need, is food. Naturally, as mammals(from Latin mamma “breast”), we feed ourselves from the breast. But, Human breast milk is more than a meal — it’s also a clock, providing time-of-day information to infants. The composition of breast milk changes across the day, giving energizing morning milk a different cocktail of ingredients than soothing evening milk. Researchers believe this “chrononutrition” may help program infants’ emerging circadian biology, the internal timekeeper that allows babies to distinguish day from night.
What happens, though, when babies drink milk that does not come directly from the breast but is pumped at different times of the day and stored in advance of feeding? Scientists have rarely considered the potential effects of “mistimed” milk on infants’ development, but the implications are potentially far-reaching.
In the same way, rhythmic variations in ambient illumination impact behaviors such as rest during sleep and activity during wakefulness as well as their underlying biological processes. The availability of artificial light has substantially changed the light environment, especially during the evening and night hours. Phones, laptops, ipads, and more around the babies. This may increase the risk of developing circadian rhythm sleep-wake disorders (CRSWD), which are often caused by a misalignment of endogenous circadian rhythms and external light-dark cycles. On the other hand, light can also be used as an effective and non-invasive therapeutic option with little to no side effects, to improve sleep, mood, and general well-being.
The architecture of the circadian system
The central master-clock in mammalian species is a paired structure in the hypothalamus with a volume of just about 0.25 mm3 per nucleus. Within the mammalian SCN, a molecular oscillator keeps the clock oscillating at its normal pace. The basis of this oscillator is two interconnected molecular feedback loops of clock gene expression, a detailed description of which is beyond the scope of this review though.
Successful interaction between body and environment however needs more than just a central clock; it also requires input pathways relaying information about the environment and the body to the SCN to achieve adequate entrainment as well as output pathways communicating timing information to the body to synchronize bodily processes with the circadian phase
Sleep, eating, and energy levels all show circadian rhythms, which means they follow a daily cycle. As any parent who has sleepwalked through a 3 a.m. feeding knows, infants are not born with these rhythms fully set. Instead, their sense of day and night develops over the first weeks and months of life, thanks to cues like sunlight and darkness.
Babies vary: Some show predictable circadian fluctuations in hormones linked with alertness, sleep, and appetite, and can sleep for long stretches shortly after birth, whereas others seem to have their daily rhythms upside-down for months. Delays in the development of circadian biology can increase the risk of colic and lead to growth and feeding problems.
Breast milk may help program infant circadian rhythms, helping to explain why some parents of newborns enjoy long full nights of sleep, whereas others struggle to get their infants on a schedule.
Breast milk changes dramatically over the course of the day. For example, levels of cortisol — a hormone that promotes alertness — are three times higher in morning milk than in evening milk. Melatonin, which promotes sleep and digestion, can barely be detected in daytime milk, but rises in the evening and peaks around midnight.
Night milk also contains higher levels of certain DNA building blocks which help promote healthy sleep. Day milk, by contrast, has more activity-promoting amino acids than night milk. Iron in milk peaks at around noon; vitamin E peaks in the evening. Minerals like magnesium, zinc, potassium, and sodium are all highest in the morning.
Daytime milk may pack a special immune punch. Among mothers who provided researchers with milk samples across the first month postpartum, immune components — including key antibodies and white blood cells — looked higher in day milk compared to night milk. Another study found higher levels of a component important for immune system communication in day milk compared to night milk.
While it’s clear that milk changes over the course of the day, scientists know little about what this means for infant health. Researchers do know that the hormones and immune components in breast milk are passed along to infants and that infants are starting to develop and refine their own circadian rhythms during the first months of life. It’s plausible that the chronosignals in breast milk would help to shape infants’ own circadian biology. Differences in infant feeding patterns might help explain why there’s such variability in the development of these daily rhythms from one infant to another.
Fundamentals of light
To understand the effects of light on human physiology, it is important to understand light. Briefly, light is radiation in a specific range of the electromagnetic spectrum.
The spectrum of daylight, which is light from the sun filtered by the atmosphere is relatively broadband in its distribution. The availability of daylight depends on geographical location and season. In the timeframe of human evolution, it is a rather recent development that light can be available during all times of day through artificial light. Artificial light allows for illuminating indoor and outdoor spaces. It comes in many forms, e.g. incandescent, fluorescent, or light-emitting diode (LED) lighting.
While light generated by these technologies may all appear “white”, the underlying spectra are rather different.
The reason why many different types of spectra might have the same appearance lies in the retina. Critically, different spectra, even if they create the same visual impression, may vary in their chronobiological effects on the circadian clock.
Recently, the Commission International de l’Eclairage (CIE), the international standard body for quantities related to light, issued a new standard containing a reference framework for quantifying the effects of light on non-visual functions.
Effects of LED light on the circadian clock
Two effects of light have been interrogated extensively in human circadian and sleep research: (1) the acute suppression of melatonin in response to light exposure and (2) the ability of light exposure to shift circadian phase.
The system mediating melatonin suppression has a spectral sensitivity that is broadly consistent with the spectral sensitivity of melanopsin. Similarly, the spectral sensitivity of circadian phase-shifting shows its maximal effect near the peak spectral sensitivity of melanopsin.
The effects of light on the phase of the circadian clock depend on the timing of light exposure. This is formally summarised in the phase response curve (PRC), which describes the amount of phase shift (in minutes and hours) achieved by exposure of light at a given circadian phase. Roughly speaking, the effect of morning light is that it advances the clock, while evening and night light delays the clock.
Both melatonin suppression and circadian phase shifts are modulated by the “photic history”, i.e. the amount of light seen during the day. The long-term adaptive influences of the “spectral diet” in the real world remain an important area of investigation.
Effects of light on sleep
The human sleep-wake cycle, which is periods of sleep during the night and wakefulness during the day, is one of the most prominent examples of a circadian behavioral pattern, especially for babies. It results from the interaction between two factors: the circadian drive for wakefulness and the homeostatic sleep pressure. The activity of the circadian pacemaker is aligned to counteract the increasing sleep pressure resulting from sustained wakefulness during the daytime. Likewise, the nocturnal increase in circadian sleep tendency counteracts the decrease in sleep propensity resulting from accumulated sleep thereby supporting a consolidated phase of nocturnal sleep.
Breast milk, artificial lighting, smartphones, and visual display units
In addition to natural daylight, babies are nowadays also exposed to a considerable amount of artificial light. This is particularly the case in the evening hours, i.e. when the circadian system is most sensitive to light-induced phase delays. Thereby, light therapy is more efficient to delay the timing of the circadian clock and thus sleep.
Even thou, mothers can label their milk with the time it was pumped and coordinate infant feedings to offer morning milk in the morning, afternoon milk in the afternoon, and night milk at night, they keep the constant use of visual units around the baby. The use for the babies is not different, entertainment as well
So, which one is better?
Is always about finding the balance. Rather than only use one of the methods, the responsible practice of light therapy and adequate alimentation of your newborn should be combined to get on track the circadian system
Like any other organ or part of the human body, the brain, too, is susceptible to injuries or declining functions, especially as we grow older. A healthy diet, physical exercise, and improving your blood pressure, blood sugar, or blood cholesterol levels are some of the ways through which you can maintain a healthier, younger brain.
The brain can suffer from numerous disorders that can be divided into:
Traumatic events such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and global brain ischemia.
Aging-related degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s or dementia.
Psychiatric and mood disorders, including schizophrenia, anxiety, and depression.
Mentally stimulating activities are vital to keeping the brain young. Different brain activities, such as solving puzzles, math problems, or anything that may require at least some cognitive effort, contributes to the maintenance of the brain’s neural plasticity.
Neural plasticity is the ability of the central nervous system (CNS) to adapt to changes in the environment, aging, trauma, or injuries. It’s an important brain process in which neural networks work together to build a more resilient nervous system and maintain its proper functioning.
Improved reaction Time, Memory, and Mood
The first placebo-controlled study to demonstrate some of the benefits of Light Therapy treatments on the human brain was performed in 2013. Multiple improvements were observed among participants who received Light Therapy compared to the placebo group. Light therapy participants experienced:
Quicker reaction time, proved with the sustained-attention psychomotor vigilance task (PVT) that measured the speed by which study participants responded to visual stimulus.
Better memory, proved by the delayed match-to-sample (DMS) memory task, where the outcome measures included measuring readiness for a quick response and the number of correct trials.
Improved mood, as Light Therapy helped participants to sustain more positive emotional states. The mood was measured by the Positive and Negative Affect Schedule (PANAS), a clinical survey that measures feelings and emotions. The participants were asked to fill the form in before and two weeks after having a treatment.
Light Therapy against Cognitive Decline
In a more recent study effort, researchers treated older adults who were at risk of cognitive decline with Light Therapy. A positive neurocognitive effect was observed among the participants in this study, all of whom aged between 49 and 90. Some of the participants also struggled with cognitive decline due to vascular disease, however, Light Therapy was effective regardless of the nature of their cognitive decline.
As Light Therapy helped the elderly participants boost cognitive scores, researchers on the team were also able to observe their increased brain waves power (alpha, beta, and gamma brain waves in their resting state).
Combating age-related cognitive decline with Light Therapy has been in the focus of another recent study, published in February 2019. This study examined the frontal brain functions among elderly men. Frontal brain functions are key to directing behavior. The participants were divided into two groups, treatment, and placebo. Those who received treatment indeed showed improved cognitive performance following the treatment. These results demonstrate that Light Therapy can really work in a safe manner to treat age-related cognitive decline.
Light Therapy and Executive Function
As of 2017, we also know that Light Therapy can improve the brain’s executive function. This is your ability to manage time, pay attention, change focus, plan, organize, multitask, remember details, or avoid saying the wrong thing at the wrong time3. In other words, the ability to create and meet goals.
As research further suggests, Light Therapy helped study participants to better perform in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Task (WCST)4. This is a neurophysiological test where the task-takers are asked to match a set of cards presented to them, in an attempt to assess their ability to demonstrate cognitive flexibility–a key process in cognitive ability. They are not told how to match the cards, but only if their particular match is correct or not. The WCST is a clinical way to measure the brain’s executive function. Those participants who received Light Therapy made fewer errors on the task and demonstrated improved set-shifting ability compared to the control group.
Such results suggest that Light Therapy improves the brain’s executive function and may have intriguing potentials for treating or preventing deficits resulting both from aging or neuropsychological disorders which include conditions such as epilepsy, stroke, migraines, brain tumors, dementia, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s among others.
Can Light Therapy Improve Your Ability to Learn?
In 2017, scientists tested 118 people to see if Light Therapy can have a meaningful impact on their learning abilities. In a similar fashion to previous research, the participants were divided into treatment and placebo groups. Light Therapy showed that the treatment group improved their learning capabilities.
During the trial, the Light Therapy device was directed at the lateral prefrontal cortex of participants, and following treatments, they experienced faster and better rule-based learning5. So, imagine having all participants been bartenders demanded to know the exact ingredients of Mojito, Bloody Mary, Margarita, and other essential cocktails. This Light Therapy treatment would have aided their ability to remember all the ingredients needed for fashioning each drink, adding each ingredient in the desired sequence, or remember who on the table ordered a stronger Bloody Mary. We demonstrate this type of ability through our brain’s rule-based learning capacity.
Different life events may inhibit our brain’s ability to learn. Aging certainly is one of them. Other reasons may include extended exposures to pesticides or neurotoxins, which impair the mitochondria in brain cells. Since Light Therapy kind of “exercises” the mitochondria and prompts the brain to forge new neural networks, the process itself acts as a cognitive rehabilitation6. Which also leads us to the next section.
Light Therapy and Traumatic Brain Injuries
Cognitive decline may occur due to traumatic brain injuries, too. A person who suffers from one may face memory or concentration problems, mood swings, depression, anxiety, or speech problems among other TBI manifestations. What gives hope is another batch of studies that attests to the positive cognitive benefits among TBI patients from receiving Light Therapy.
Light Therapy has been shown to stimulate the growth of new nerve tissue and synapses in damaged brain cells, thus improving the cognitive brain functions of those patients who not only suffer from TBI but also from Chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). The latter is a degenerative brain disease prevalent among athletes and military veterans or anyone who presents with a history of repetitive brain trauma.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could each reduce a couple of inches off our waist without having to diet or exercise for so long? Losing weight and fat is one of the most common health goals, both for medical and cosmetic reasons. For years, millions of people have tried different pills, injections, “natural” herbs, and many products that are supposed to help us reduce weight. Unfortunately, these usually don’t work
Many people trying to lose weight just want to look better in the mirror, or at the beach. A wide variety of therapies to target fat and improve appearance are called “body contouring” or “body sculpting”, some surgical, others noninvasive. But many of them don’t work, or produce troublesome side effects. Green light therapy is completely natural & noninvasive and has proven to be an effective option for changing the way your body looks.
In the clinical trial NCT03647748 a double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized evaluation of the effect of Cellulize, a green light low-level laser system for aesthetic use for the non-invasive reduction in fat layer for body contouring and reduction of cellulite.
The Cellulize is a non-invasive green light system with a power output of 105mW/cm2, consisting of 150 light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that emit visible light at a nominal wavelength of 532nm ± 3nm (visible green light spectrum) and a spectral bandwidth of 10nm. Cellulize® is indicated for uses non-invasive dermatological aesthetic treatment for the reduction of circumference of hips, waist, and thighs. The Massager component is indicated for the temporary reduction in the appearance of cellulite.
Cumulative circumferences of waist, hip, left and right thighs for each patient was calculated before and after treatment. Three main points were concluded as a result of the study:
1. Cellulize causes immediate inch loss in subjects after a regimen of six treatments of 32 minutes (8 minutes on each of four positions) compared to individuals subjected to a placebo device for equivalent treatment. In a typical regimen, patients lost an average cumulative of 2.67 inches of circumference compared to the placebo average of 0.5 inches. This meets the anticipated primary outcome measure “Average Change in Inches of Total Circumference Measurements for the effect of Cellulize, a LED 532nm green light low-level laser system for aesthetic use for the non-invasive reduction in fat layer for body contouring from baseline measurements, and after treatment. ”
Figure 1, below, shows the graphical summary of inch loss for patients in the Cellulize active group and the Placebo control group respectively. Table 1 gives the mean values for both groups as well as the standard deviation for the “after” measurements, as well as 7-day and 14-day follow-ups relative to the “before” measurements for each patient:
2. While the durability of effect is also impacted by extrinsic factors after treatments such as diet, it was demonstrated that subjects were more likely to show continued inch loss upon following up with each subject at 7 days and again at 14 days. In general, patients undergoing active Cellulize 532nm green light continued losing some inch with an average continued loss of an additional 1.20 inches for a total average inch loss of 3.87 inches where average placebo measurements after 14 days yielded a net gain (not a loss) of 0.875 inches. This implies that the green light treatment meets the expected primary outcome of demonstrated durability of effect after a short -term follows up of 2 weeks.
3 Finally, the effect of Cellulize LED 532nm green light without any other intervention was measured for its effect on cellulite as part of the study. The Nurnberger-Muller Scale (NMS), a four-stage scale used as an industry standard to classify stage or degree of cellulite and to determine the change in stage or degree of cellulite following treatment intervention, was used to ensure consistent evaluation standards. Results from the active device as well as placebo both showed that cellulite, in general, did not decrease on the back of thigh/buttocks for subjects after a single treatment of 532nm green light. This result failed to meet the anticipated primary outcome measure of decreasing the appearance of cellulite as a measure of the Nurnberger-Muller Scale (NMS) from baseline to completion of treatment for the thigh/buttock area.
Fat Reducing Low-Level Laser — OLI
The FDA product classification code, OLI, has a guidance document which is the special control for this product, Guidance for Industry and FDA Staff — Class II Special Controls Guidance Document: Low-Level Laser System for Aesthetic Use. According to the guidance document, FDA believes that special controls, when combined with the general controls, will be sufficient to provide reasonable assurance of the safety and effectiveness of the low-level laser system for aesthetic use. Cellulize complies with all of the standards outlined in the special controls consensus standards.
Duarte FO, et al. Can low-level laser therapy (LLLT) associated with an aerobic plus resistance training change the cardiometabolic risk in obese women? A placebo-controlled clinical trial. J Photochem Photobiol B. 2015 Dec;153:103–10.
da Silveira Campos RM, Dâmaso AR, et al. The effects of exercise training associated with low-level laser therapy on biomarkers of adipose tissue transdifferentiation in obese women. Lasers in Medical Science. 2018 Aug;33(6):1245–1254.