Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Annals of Medicine
For an Article Collection on
Light Therapies in Psychiatry
31 March 2023
Light Therapies in Psychiatry
Light therapy has been in clinical use since 1980. Alfred J. Lewy and co-workers initially observed that exposure to visible light stops melatonin secretion. Norman E. Rosenthal and colleagues subsequently integrated this finding with the systematic description of seasonal affective disorder and the first evidence of antidepressant effects of light therapy.
Since these breakthrough discoveries, the field has dramatically expanded our basic understanding of how light influences human physiology and mental states, such as the interaction of clock genes with each other and the external environment. Advances include the confirmation of the phase-response curve for light exposure, the discovery of the intrinsically photosensitive retinal ganglion cells and their connections to the circadian system, and the technical development of light-emitting diodes with the option to mimic daylight using dynamic lighting schemes.
Treatments of psychiatric disorders are compromised in efficacy, so we need new treatment options with novel mechanisms of action. Light therapy is one of the chronotherapeutic treatments. It is an effective and low-cost intervention with few adverse effects and has enormous potential for being used individually or built into hospitals as dynamic lighting systems. Light therapy also has a role for the population at home, at work, and in educational settings.
New findings on light therapy are emerging, including the negative impact of blue light emission from electronic devices on sleep, the influence of daylight exposure on the alignment of sleep and circadian rhythms, and the long-term effects of shift work on metabolic health status. They awarded the 2017 Nobel prize in Medicine to Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash, and Michael W. Young for their discovery of molecular mechanisms controlling circadian rhythms, which has further inspired the field.
This Article Collection will address various aspects of light therapy relevant to psychiatry. We are interested in research that covers the clinical effects of light therapy in a wide range of psychiatric disorders, along with sleep disorders. Manuscripts dealing with technically and clinically applied lighting solutions in the built environment are welcome, e.g., not only the dynamic lighting solutions in psychiatric or somatic hospital wards but the methods to enhance daylight availabilities inside the buildings as well. We will accept studies in healthy populations in relation to the treatment of psychiatric disorders.
We aim to solicit articles on (but not limited to) the following subtopics:
- Neural pathways for retinal light exposure
- Effects of light on cells and their internal clocks in the brain and elsewhere in the body
- Physiologic or neuroimmune effects of visible light exposure
- Clinical trials of light therapy with bright-light devices or with dynamic lighting systems
The following Article Types will be considered: basic and clinical, as well as epidemiological original research, meta-analyses, systematic and scoping reviews, narrative reviews, and commentaries.
When submitting your article, please select the section, 'Psychiatry', and the Special Issue, 'Light Therapies in Psychiatry' from the drop-down menu on the submission system.
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All manuscripts submitted to this Article Collection will undergo desk assessment and peer-review as part of our standard editorial process. Guest Advisors for this collection will not be involved in peer-reviewing manuscripts unless they are an existing member of the Editorial Board. Please review the journal Aims and Scope and author submission instructions prior to submitting a manuscript.