Rixt F. Riemersma-van der Lek, MD, Dick F. Swaab, MD, PhD, Jos Twisk, PhD, Elly M. Hol, PhD, Witte J. G. Hoogendijk, MD, PhD, Eus J. W. Van Someren, PhD
Context: Cognitive decline, mood, behavioral and sleep disturbances, and limitations of activities of daily living commonly burden elderly patients with dementia and their caregivers. Circadian rhythm disturbances have been associated with these symptoms.
Objective: To determine whether the progression of cognitive and noncognitive symptoms may be ameliorated by individual or combined long-term application of the 2 major synchronizers of the circadian timing system: bright light and melatonin.
Conclusions: Light has a modest benefit in improving some cognitive and noncognitive symptoms of dementia. To counteract the adverse effect of melatonin on mood, it is recommended only in combination with light.