A study published in Frontiers in Aging by Oregon State University researchers led by Dr. Jadwiga Giebultowicz says that blue light from screens makes you age faster after studies on fruit flies.
Obesity and psychological issues have been linked to excessive screen use. The blue light emitted by these devices may have an impact on our basic cellular processes, according to a recent study on fruit flies. These results are published in Frontiers in Aging (pdf below).
“Excessive exposure to blue light from everyday devices, such as TVs, laptops, and phones, may have detrimental effects on a wide range of cells in our body, from skin and fat cells, to sensory neurons,” said Dr. Jadwiga Giebultowicz, professor in the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University and senior author of this study. “We are the first to show that the levels of specific metabolites – chemicals that are essential for cells to function correctly – are altered in fruit flies exposed to blue light.”
Giebultowicz counselled, “Our study suggests that avoidance of excessive blue light exposure may be a good anti-aging strategy.
Turn off the light
The Oregon State University researchers have previously demonstrated that fruit flies housed in constant darkness lived longer and that fruit flies exposed to light ‘turn on’ stress-protective genes.
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“To understand why high-energy blue light is responsible for accelerating aging in fruit flies, we compared the levels of metabolites in flies exposed to blue light for two weeks to those kept in complete darkness,” explained Giebultowicz.
The levels of metabolites the researchers examined in the cells of fly heads varied significantly after exposure to blue light. They discovered that glutamate levels were decreased but succinate levels were elevated, in particular.
“Succinate is essential for producing the fuel for the function and growth of each cell. High levels of succinate after exposure to blue light can be compared to gas being in the pump but not getting into the car,” said Giebultowicz. “Another troubling discovery was that molecules responsible for communication between neurons, such as glutamate, are at the lower level after blue light exposure.”
The researchers’ observations indicate that the cells may be dying prematurely as a result of their inadequate functioning, which would also explain their earlier discovery that blue light quickens ageing.
“LEDs have become the main illumination in display screens such as phones, desktops and TVs, as well as ambient lighting, so humans in advanced societies are exposed to blue light through LED lighting during most of their waking hours. The signaling chemicals in the cells of flies and humans are the same, so the there is potential for negative effects of blue light on humans,“ explains Giebultowicz.
Future research aims to examine the impacts on human cells directly.
“We used a fairly strong blue light on the flies – humans are exposed to less intense light, so cellular damage may be less dramatic. The results from this study suggests that future research involving human cells is needed to establish the extent to which human cells may show similar changes in metabolites involved in energy production in response to excessive exposure to blue light,“ concluded Giebultowicz.
Read the study given below: