NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

June 30

Light’s Effects on Health Is Lecture Topic

Dr. Helen Burgess
Dr. Helen Burgess

NCCIH will hold a virtual lecture by Dr. Helen Burgess on Tuesday, June 30 at 11 a.m., “Lighting Up Our Lives: How Light Influences Our Mental and Physical Health.” The talk inaugurates a series, “Novel Approaches at the Intersection of Mental Health and Pain,” part of the center’s Integrative Medicine Research Lecture Series.

Natural outdoor light and artificial indoor light can affect our mental and physical health. This is especially relevant in the current times when we are asked to stay home and spend less time outside.

Burgess will examine how light reaches the brain and can alter brain centers that regulate circadian (body clock) timing, sleep and mood. Other topics include specific properties of light—such as intensity, wavelength and timing—and individual differences in light sensitivity.

Current approaches to morning light treatment and how it can be used to improve health and reduce symptom burden in clinical disorders (e.g., chronic pain conditions, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder) will also be addressed.

Burgess is professor in the department of psychiatry and co-director of the Sleep and Circadian Research Laboratory at the University of Michigan and holds a Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Melbourne, in Australia.

Her lecture will be streamed live and archived at Additional dates in the series are to be announced.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

Published 25 times each year, it comes out on payday Fridays.

Assistant Editor: Eric Bock (link sends e-mail)

Staff Writer: Amber Snyder (link sends e-mail)