Facebook PixelAvoiding blue light exposure for a healthier lifespan
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Avoiding blue light exposure for a healthier lifespan

Image credit: Nash et al. 2019 https://www.nature.com/articles/s41514-019-0038-6#Fig2

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Jamila
Jamila Dec 10, 2020

[1]Nash, Trevor R., et al. "Daily blue-light exposure shortens lifespan and causes brain neurodegeneration in Drosophila." npj Aging and Mechanisms of Disease 5.1 (2019): 1-8.

[2]Zerbini, Giulia, Thomas Kantermann, and Martha Merrow. "Strategies to decrease social jetlag: Reducing evening blue light advances sleep and melatonin." European Journal of Neuroscience (2018).

General comments

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JK
Juran K.a month ago
Hi Jamila! Nice idea! We heard many times that specialists recommend using glasses blocking the blue light when using computers. Also, as you said, it's getting more and more popular to use the "night light", which reduces the blue light and makes the screen seem yellowish.

What I think is that blue light CAN'T DIRECTLY influence human longevity/aging just because there is (still) no clear definition of the aging phenotype (https://brainstorming.com/sessions/defining-the-aging-phenotype/14). Aging is a progressive time-consuming process that is a result of many small changes. As we are keen on believing in the things we "see", we rather focus on these smaller, short-term changes (diabetes, osteoporosis, skin diseases, macular degeneration, Alzheimer's, ...). Therefore, it's hard to directly correlate "aging and longevity" to the blue light exposure (please, correct me if I am wrong).

But, at the level we are now, many interesting "INDIRECT" correlations can be found between blue light and longevity if we look at how blue light affects some of these short-term changes.
For example, the research on Drosophila you mentioned above proved that blue light affects its lifespan. It also proved that even flies that did not have eyes developed the same locomotion impairments and brain damage, the same as the other ones. In further research, they observed changes in stress-response mechanisms in flies exposed to light. It's also interesting that if given a choice, flies would tend to avoid blue light. This all gives enough room for further research on blue light.

Consequently, I am thrilled that blue light effects do not necessarily mean vision and the general body's circadian rhythm disbalance leading to general changes in the organism defined as aging. Recent research described through plenty of experiments that direct exposure of the skin to the blue light caused wrinkles, worsening skin laxity, and hyperpigmentation. Skin cells also have their own circadian rhythm and are known to repair the damage during the night. If the fine-tuned rhythm of repair mechanisms is changed, reactive oxygen species are generated in larger quantities, which leads to DNA damage that is not routinely repaired, thereby causing inflammation and the breakdown of healthy collagen and elastin (https://www.allure.com/story/blue-light-phone-skin-effects, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4337113/).

So yes, in light of the "new" perception of aging as a cumulative set of diseases, I would dare say that blue light DIRECTLY affects aging through multiple mechanisms that lead to age-related diseases. These mechanisms could be:

1. The general disbalance of circadian rhythm, affecting the sleep time and body homeostasis, slowly leading towards the mentioned "shorter-term" changes
2. The increased rate of DNA damage through the mechanisms similar to sun exposure
3. The alterations of skin cells' circadian rhythm, thus affecting skin damage-repair mechanisms, leading to skin aging-associated changes
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Jamila
Jamila a month ago
Hi Juran K.
Thanks for the comment.
The fact that the flies without eyes also developed brain damage and locomotive impairments is quite fascinating. I’m guessing the blue light is absorbed by the skin, and from there, it causes damage in the flies’ bodies by mechanisms that remain to be elucidated. As you mention, it could be due to DNA damage by sun exposure, dysfunction in the circadian rhythm, or a combination of things.

If the effects of blue light exposure are independent of retinal damage and the skin absorbs it, then glasses with a blue light filter might not be helpful. A blue light filter on the light source itself might help more.

I think it would be great to see whether blue light exposure can impact the aging hallmarks in various experimental models:
-Does blue light exposure increase the number of senescent cells in the body?
-Can blue light exposure reduce telomere length?
-Does blue light exposure accelerate the epigenetic age?
-Can blue light exposure cause genomic instability? Etc.

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JK
Juran K.a month ago
Jamila Nice conclusion. The filters on the screen are much more logical then.
For me, it sounds like a series of very simple experiments, analyzing the crucial factors for each of the hallmarks after the blue light exposure (even just on a cellular level). Let's hope someone does it soon :)
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Jamila
Jamila a month ago
Juran K. I know, right! I definitely want to see some results now because the research is so interesting! 😀