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Posts tagged ‘light’


Black Light Jell-o

Black Light Jell-o

“So why does the Jello glow? Quinine (an ingredient in tonic water) is a fluorescent substance. These substances absorb ultraviolet light and then re-emit it. The light emitted has a longer wavelength than the one absorbed which makes the light visible and causes quinine to glow. When you substitute tonic water for regular tap water when making the Jello, it adds the quinine which adds the glow. It is better to use light-colored Jello for maximum glow.”

Step 1:

You will need the following:

  • *Jello (light-colored Jello such as Lemon or Lime will work best for this project)
  • *16oz of tonic water
  • *Stove
  • *Liquid measuring cup
  • *Small pot for boiling water
  • *Mixing bowl
  • *Mixing spoon
  • *Refrigerator
  • *Small Table Lamp with fluorescent blacklight (The blacklight must be fluorescent and not simply a colored bulb. It can be purchased at most Wal-Mart locations for around $4.00)


  • Measure out 8oz (1 cup) of tonic water in a liquid measuring cup.


  • Pour tonic water into pot.


  • Put pot on burner and turn on high.


  • While water is boiling, pour Jello packet into mixing bowl.


  • Once water has boiled, pour the boiling tonic water into mixing bowl.


  • Stir together Jello and boiling tonic water, making sure that the Jello powder fully dissolves.


  • Add one cup of cold tap water to the mixing bowl.
  • Alternate method: If you would like your Jello to glow more brightly, add one cup of cold tonic water instead of tap water. However, doing this will make the Jello taste more bitter than normal.


  • Place the mixing bowl in the fridge and chill for four hours.


Source: Black Light Jello


New Seasons can Affect Bipolar Disorder 

New Seasons Affect Bipolar Disorder 

I know that I am definitely one of the millions of people who suffer each season with Seasonal Affective Disorder. It’s part of the bipolar disorder. It has to do with our circadian rhythm’s, and how we get depressed from not enough daylight. 

Do you ever feel depressed for no reason during fall and winter months? Did you know that the amount of sun we receive each day does have an affect on our bodies happiness. And those who suffer from a mental illness are much more likely to feel or get depressed. When the sun is out less and less, more darkness is what we observe. So remember to get as much sun as possible by opening blinds, curtains, and letting in light. As well as, going outside more will help with not feeling as depressed.

*Seasonal Affective Disorder Versus Seasonal Bipolar Disorder

“Doctors have long distinguished between seasonal depression and seasonal bipolar disorder. Seasonal depression — commonly referred to as SAD, for seasonal affective disorder — is a mood disorder brought on by the biological effects of a lack of sunlight. Typically experienced in the late fall and winter, it is particularly prevalent in northern regions, according to the American Psychological Association (APA). What distinguishes seasonal bipolar disorder from SAD is the presence of a manic episode within a given period of time.”

“People must have a history of manic or hypomanic episodes (the extreme highs) to be diagnosed with a bipolar mood disorder, explains Ken Duckworth, MD, medical director for the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and an assistant professor at the Harvard University Medical School. If that’s not part of their medical history, he says, then their seasonal winter response is a depressive disorder and not bipolar.”


Bipolar and Light – Vol.3 Light Therapy

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Light Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

“Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder (SAD) has been studied for some time now. Usually it comes to mind with the onset of depression in winter. But more applications have been coming to the forefront.””

“Recently, a post on Psych Central had information about sleep and cognition improving with light therapy after brain injury. Now a researcher at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic (WPIC) in Pittsburgh is looking further into using light therapy to treat bipolar disorder.”

“Also known as “bright light therapy” or “phototherapy,” light therapy treats SAD by exposure to artificial light, which mimics natural light lacking during late fall and winter. According to an article by Reuters Health, “[R]esearch suggests that bright light can affect levels of certain brain chemicals, like serotonin, thought to be involved in major depression. Light therapy also seems to zero in on the same brain structures that antidepressants target.” Others across the web have argued that a certain type of blue light is optimally effective for depressive conditions.”

“Both John Hopkins Medical Center and the Mayo Clinic caution that light boxes may arouse manic symptoms if used without supervision, but both prestigious centers nod to Dr. Dorothy Sit’s research as the noted study. Sit is an assistant professor of psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh.”

“At WPIC, that latest research is being set up to examine “adult men and women with bipolar disorder depression” because too few effective treatments for the condition exist. As “drugs indicated for bipolar disorder mainly improve symptoms of mania or hypomania,” the renowned institute and clinic wants to better address the opposite side of the spectrum. Few nondrug treatments have been found effective so far.”


“WPIC conducted a similar but much less extensive study, according to Dr. Sit, lead researcher of both studies. She admits what was discovered then became hopeful grounds to build a case for more research going forward. She states that “[T]here is still no clear indicator as of yet that light therapy is effective for bipolar disorder,” but she nevertheless feels “there is great justification for the new study.””

“Fewer than 10 individuals, all women, were studied. In 2013, 40 to 60 men and women ages 18 to 65 will be evaluated. The light box being used this time has been optimized for best treatment outcomes over the last five years.”

“There is simply not enough information out there, and [this is] why we are conducting the new trial,” Dr. Sit said. “We want to confirm the studies, the [light] dose, the optimum timing of the therapy during the course of a day, and the overall efficacy.”

“As well, Dr. Sit mentioned the good opportunity to look at the interrelationship between bipolar disorder and circadian rhythm.”


“People with bipolar disorder are exquisitely sensitive to morning light, so this profound effect of morning treatment leading to mixed states is very informative and forces us to ask more questions … Did we introduce light too early and disrupt circadian rhythms and sleep patterns?”




Bipolar and Light – Vol. 2

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Treatment Implications

“There are two aspects of this story with major implications for treatment of bipolar disorder: first, sleep and rhythm; and then, darkness and light (particularly one kind of light).”

Sleep and Rhythm

“This one’s pretty simple. Everybody needs sleep. But people with bipolar disorder need to protect it. Sleep deprivation is associated with having manic symptoms. But perhaps even more important than sleep, or at least as important, is rhythm: the sleep needs to happen at the same time every day to keep your clock organized. Move it around too much and you may be setting yourself up for cycling, perhaps even the harder to treat version, “rapid cycling”.”


“Thus most people with bipolar disorder will not be able to do “shift work”, where the work day is rotating around the clock. That’s probably about the worst kind of job schedule you could arrange. A close second worst is might be an international job like pilot or flight attendant, changing time zones over and over again. Third worst would be graveyard shift work, unless you were extremely attentive to keeping your light exposure limited to your “day”, and avoiding real daylight during your “night” (heavy blinds and a sleep mask, for example). Even then we might wonder if there’s something about “real” daylight that’s important to synchronize with your internal clock.”

“So, the treatment bottom line: have regular sleep hours — even on weekends. I know, it’s going to feel really stupid to be getting up at 6 am on a Saturday. You’ll probably have to conduct some personal tests to find out if this is really worth it. I’ll admit: even if it’s theoretically a good idea for the long run, you’ll probably never be able to keep it up unless you discover some shorter-term benefit as well. So keep some mood/energy/sleep records  and see what you think.”

rhythm 1

Darkness and Light

“The following recommendations are not standard. You won’t hear these from your doctor, for a while yet, anyway. They are just my opinions, some logical extensions from our existing knowledge. But since they are easy and safe, I don’t have to worry too much about being right! You can try one, or several, and see what you think.”

“In my opinion, everything you just finished reading suggests that if you have bipolar disorder, you should very deliberately manage your exposure to light and darkness, especially darkness. I think this may be as important for some people with bipolar disorder as regular sleep. Obviously the easiest way to arrange this would be to make sure you’re getting good quality darkness when you’re asleep. That means no nightlights (in one study, as little as 1/500th of midday sunlight, just 200 lux, was enough to disturb people’s melatonin, the sleep chemical in our brainHallam). That means don’t turn on the lights in the middle of the night if you get up to go to the bathroom (no hallway nightlight either). Don’t let early morning sun, in the summer, hit your closed eyelids (which means using, if you have to, a $3.50 sleep mask you can buy at the pharmacy. You’ll get used to it. Older guys who have to get up to urinate anyway can put it on before going back to sleep in the middle of the night).”

rhythm 2

“Here a stunning case example to demonstrate how powerful “Dark Therapy” can be: a patient with severe rapid-cycling bipolar disorder who stopped cycling entirely — with no medications — just by carefully using very regular darkness (first 14 hrs a night, then within a few weeks, to stay well, only 10 hrs. a night). The graphs of his mood chart, before and after this treatment, are amazing.”

“No nightlights? 35% of new mothers use them; not good. Of course, the cell phone is worse:  You can use nightlights, actually, but they have to emit no blue light, as you’ll see in the next section.”

rhythm 3


Alert, Alert: watch out for blue light at night.

“Recent research has shown that one particular kind of light is the key to regulating the biological clock: blue light. The bottom line: blue light is a powerful signal telling your brain “it’s morning time, wake up!”  The last thing you’d want to be doing right before bed is looking at a blue light. Uh, oh. You can see it coming, can’t you: what color is the light from your television? How about from the computer screen you’re staring at right now? (not after 9 pm, is it? uh oh…)”

“The good news is this: you might be able to significantly regulate your bipolar cycling, and at least find it easier to go to sleep at night (without medications like zolpidem (Ambien), lorazepam (Ativan), trazodone, etc.), by avoiding blue light at night. So, here’s the treatment recommendation doctors ought to be giving you (if they had the time to read the recent research in this area, which few do): no TV or computer after 9 pm if you’re going to bed at 10 or 11. End the TV/computer even earlier if you go to bed earlier. I’ve had quite a few patients tell me this step alone really helped them. If you took the link above to the story about the guy whose rapid cycling was treated with “Dark Therapy” and no medications, you can see how closely this recommendation matches that treatment.”

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Bipolar and Light – Vol. 1

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  • Why are persons with Bipolar affected so much more if they do not receive direct light everyday?

How Light Affects the Brain

“You know about rods and cones, right? Those are the two kinds of receptors in your eyeball, on your retina, for light. But you didn’t know that there is another receptor for light in the eye (I’m guessing you don’t know, because until I came across this research, I didn’t know either).”

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“Whereas the rods and cones send information to the visual cortex (the “occipital cortex”, at the back of your head), this other light receptor sends its information to your internal clock. The nerve cables from these receptors don’t even go to the vision center at all. They go straight to the middle of your brain, to a region of the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus, which is well known to be the location of the biological clock for us humans.”

“You know about this clock, right? Everybody has one: it’s the gizmo that is setting your biological rhythms every day — when you feel like eating, when you feel like sleeping, when you feel like getting up in the morning. It’s the gizmo that gets confused by east-west travel, causing “jet lag”. It regulates hundreds of chemical reactions all timed to match the natural cycle of days and nights in our environment.”

light 2

‘Or what used to be our environment. Nowadays we’ve altered that environment in many ways, of course (Nature is getting ready to get back at us, big time; but hey, that’s our kids’ worry, right?). One of the most significant changes in our environment is our ability to have LIGHT when we used to have DARKNESS.’

“But our brains were not built for this. There were built for a regular period of darkness within every 24 hours (by whom or what doesn’t matter right now; don’t stop, read my page on evolution later. I keep interrupting you with these big-picture ideas like God and global warming. I must be worried about something). Some people are not very strongly affected by our artificially lit environment. But some people, perhaps especially those with bipolar disorder, may suffer when they get too little, or too much. Right now most such people just have to learn this the hard way.”

“Your biological clock resets itself every day by the appearance of morning light. That’s why you can, over a few days, adjust your clock if you fly to some other continent, or even across one. As you may know, our biological clocks are not perfect 24-hour machines. They drift a little bit every day. Most people drift toward a longer day (their clock takes more than 24 hours to complete a cycle). This is probably why most people find it easier to stay up late than to wake up early. For some people, that drift toward later hours can be very dramatic. They may be the ones who most need to learn about what I’m presenting here. They don’t stay glued to “real time” very well. They need to avoid getting “unglued” any further. And light at night may be one of the most important ungluing fact.”

So, how does the clock reset itself?

“Here’s the short answer. The long answer is a beautiful example of brain science; I’ll send you there in a minute if you’re interested. Briefly then: every morning light turns off a chemical process and allows the clock process, which is a very interesting string of chemical reactions, to start all over again. Clock researchers have identified all the important molecules in this process. Lo and behold: lithium directly affects one of the key enzymes in the resetting of the clock. Here we find “ground zero” of our biological rhythms, the very center of the clock process, and there’s lithium right in the middle of it. Very interesting. If that’s enough to get you interested, have a look at the long story about how the clock works, including how lithium affects it.”

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Light is central to biological rhythms — and so is DARKNESS

“If light starts the clock every day, is it possible that darkness is a necessary ingredient as well? Look at the question this way: sleep deprivation can cause manic episodes. In part that’s too little sleep itself — but might part of the story be “too much light?” Generally when people are sleeping less and heading toward mania, they’re not hanging out in the dark. They’re up late at night in very well lit places, like casinos, roadways with bright car lights in their eyes, their office preparing the big talk that will secure their future millions, and so forth. They’re not sitting in some dark room. Is there any chance that being forced to stay in the dark during an emerging manic episode could actually turn them in the other direction? We’ll look at some evidence for that in just a moment.”

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“Here’s another angle on light and dark: suppose that the appearance of light every morning can reset your clock only when you’ve had enough darkness. Maybe the brain needs to be able to see the contrast? What would happen if you didn’t get enough darkness? Maybe you’d lose your biological rhythm entirely; your body wouldn’t know when to make you sleep and when to wake you up. You’d be up in the middle of the night sometimes, for days in a row, backwards to real time. Then you might be so asleep during the real day you could hardly get out of bed; getting up in the morning would feel like getting up from sleep in the middle of the night does for the rest of us, ugh.”

“And finally, imagine that if your clock cuts loose from real time, you lose even the 24-hour connection. Remember, the clock is not really a 24 hour machine in most people. Maybe you would lose your rhythm entirely so that you body could do the sleep thing, or the really awake thing, at any time, on any day. You’d have no idea where you were, in terms of body cycling, totally erratic. Extreme forms of “rapid cycling bipolar disorder” look just like this: no rhythm at all.”

“All of these lines of thought led a research team at the National Institute of Mental Health to wonder: maybe some people with rapid-cycling bipolar disorder have lost the connection between their internal clock and external light/dark reality. Maybe one way to treat that would be to simply “enforce darkness”! The results of their test of this idea will be described in a moment.’

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