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LRC News

Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Circadian Light Research to Expand With New Daysimeter User Group

By Jennifer Taylor

The Daysimeter is used in field studies to measure circadian light entering the eye.

The Lighting Research Center has initiated a new collaborative effort in the area of circadian light research. The LRC’s Daysimeter User Group, a joint group of researchers from manufacturer, academic, and medical institutions around the world, is beginning to collect data from a variety of subjects to study the effects of light on human health and well-being. The researchers are using a new field research tool called the Daysimeter, which was developed by the LRC.

LRC Director Mark Rea, Ph.D., said, “The data collected by the group will be used to establish the first quantifiable glimpse at light exposures for the populations under study. Ultimately, we hope to understand how light can improve health and quality of life for those with disrupted circadian rhythms.”

The Daysimeter User Group met in early March to discuss the current state of circadian light research, how the Daysimeter can be used to better understand the effects of circadian light, and what populations may be studied using this new tool. Dr. Rea said that the group is primarily interested in studying populations that could benefit from special lighting applications specifically tuned to the circadian system, the system that regulates the body to an approximately 24-hour daily clock.

The group will measure subjects’ circadian light exposure with the Daysimeter. The Daysimeter is the first device to characterize light accurately by measuring spectrally weighted intensity, as well as timing and duration, of circadian light entering the eye. The device was designed for use in field studies where subjects wear the lightweight device, which rests against the temple so that sensors can record light reaching the eye. It also measures conventional light levels and records head movements in order to differentiate between periods of activity and rest.

Rea anticipates that collected data will be analyzed this fall by the group, with results published sometime next year.

About the Daysimeter User Group

The Daysimeter User Group is designed as a forum for conducting collaborative research projects, discussing research results, sharing experiences and ideas, and developing proposals for funding. The group consists of scholars, scientists, physicians, and manufacturers already working in clinical applications and work environments where photobiology and circadian light exposure could be important for health and productivity. Those interested in joining can contact Mark Rea at (518) 687-7100 or ream@rpi.edu.

The Daysimeter User Group is sponsored by GE Consumer & Industrial, Latrobe Fellowship (College of Fellows, American Institute of Architecture), Lumec, OSRAM SYLVANIA, and Philips Lighting, as well as by individually paid memberships.

About the Lighting Research Center

The Lighting Research Center (LRC) is part of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute of Troy, N.Y., and is the leading university-based research center devoted to lighting. The LRC offers the world's premier graduate education in lighting, including one- and two-year master's programs and a Ph.D. program. Since 1988 the LRC has built an international reputation as a reliable source for objective information about lighting technologies, applications, and products. The LRC also provides training programs for government agencies, utilities, contractors, lighting designers, and other lighting professionals. Visit http://www.lrc.rpi.edu.

Contact:lrcnewsletter@rpi.eduPhotos & Graphics:Dennis Guyon
Editor:Keith ToomeyWeb Production:Joann Coffey
Contributing Writers:Jennifer Taylor, Keith Toomey, Dennis Guyon
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