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Study finds excessive blue light from screens may accelerate aging

Screens and blue light
Posted at 9:03 PM, Sep 01, 2022

A new study says that aging may be accelerated with excessive time in front of, and looking at, the many screens we use for our computers and devices daily.

The study, published in the journal Frontiers in Aging, says that other problems may also be caused, including obesity and psychological problems.

Dr Jadwiga Giebultowicz, a professor at the Department of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University and senior author of the study, wrote, “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.“

Giebultowicz said, “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.“

Researchers showed that fruit flies exposed to the light activate or "turn on" genes that protect against stress. Those that were in darkness lived longer.

Blue light was also found to cause great differences in metabolite levels that researchers observed. Levels of succinate were increased, while glutamate was decreased with exposure.

Giebultowicz said, “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."

“Another troubling discovery was that molecules responsible for communication between neurons, such as glutamate, are at the lower level after blue light exposure,“ Giebultowicz said

Researchers said they used "fairly strong" blue light on the fruit flies and said humans are exposed to blue light that is a bit less intense.