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Men more sensitive to blue light

11 Nov 2017
The cornea, the transparent outermost layer of the eye, protects the eye from infection and physical injury.

Sensitivity to blue-enriched light is influenced by sex differences, such that males display a stronger response even to very low light levels, a recent study suggests. Moreover, sex differences also affect the acute benefits of bedtime blue light exposure such as sustained attention.

In the study, 32 participants (mean age 25.2±3.1 years; 50 percent female) were subjected to 1.5 hours of dim light (<8 lx), 2 hours of darkness, 2 hours of light exposure (40 lx) and 45 minutes of dim light (<8 lx), in sequence, until habitual sleep time. Both groups were matched according to age, ethnicity and body mass index.

Males preferred the 40-lx light delivered by a 6,500-K than by a 2,500-K fluorescent lamp (62.5 vs 37.5 percent). An opposite trend was observed for females (12.5 vs 87.5 percent, respectively), with the difference between the sexes reaching significance (p=0.004).

In a posthoc analysis, males were found to perceive the 6,500-K light as significantly stronger than the 2,500-K light (mean, 85.6±4.5 vs 67.7±5.4).

Light condition, specifically the 6,500-K light, significantly improved the median response time (p<0.005) and 10-percent fastest response time (p<0.001) exclusively in males. No such effect was observed in females.

Moreover, following exposure to 6,500-K light before bedtime, males had significantly higher frontal nonrapid eye movement slow-wave activity (2 to 4 Hz) sleep electroencephalogram power density than women (p<0.05).

“Collectively, the data indicate that sex differences in light sensitivity might play a key role for ensuring the success of individually-targeted light interventions,” said researchers.

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Most Read Articles
Tristan Manalac, 11 Jul 2018
Gestational exposure to grain products fortified with folic acid appears to be linked to a lower risk of psychosis in offspring, according to a recent study.
Pearl Toh, 10 Jul 2018
A dual-hormone artificial pancreas (DAP) with a rapid delivery of insulin and pramlintide in a fixed ratio improves glycaemic control and reduces glucose variability in adults with type 1 diabetes (T1D) compared with first-generation artificial pancreas delivering insulin alone, according to a study presented at ADA 2018.
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