#4 Quantum Dots, Bones, and Bright Light

About: Cold exposure, heat exposure, and biological effects of the three major components of sunlight (UV, Visible, and Near-Infrared). Core content: we look at 300+ new research studies and summarize the most interesting ones weekly. Healthy is normal. Buildings are not. Trying to improve human-modernity system integration.

Quantom Dot LEDs, Future of Displays & Lighting

Normal LEDs are usually built with multiple layers. First there is the LED itself, and then on top of that you might have a phosphor layer. Phosphors can take a standard LED with a narrow spectrum and output a broad range of wavelengths i.e. it can get you white light. But the aspect that controls the output is largely related to composition of the phosphor, which only gives you so much flexibility (not that many atoms out there).

Enter the quantom dot: a nanocrystal that acts like an artificial atom and can be used in place of a standard phosphor. Unlike the usual phosphor, a quantum dot’s properties can be finely tuned by adjusting its size. This precision enables more control over the light that is emitted, and the quality of most lights is awful even when CRI is high (CRI is a junk metric).

Additionally, individual colors are possible, as is desirable for an RGB display. In addition to eventually being able to offer superior color, emissive quantum dot LEDs are far more efficient, and as the resolution of devices has increased, their battery life has dropped. Greater efficiency also means you will eventually be able to to have a bright enough laptop to use outdoors while you face the sun. The laptops Samsung has recently announced (not yet available) are the first to have a QLED display. At 600 nits, they are quite a bit brighter than most laptops, but not as bright as an ultra-rugged laptop you might take outside on an oil rig. Hopefully, this trend continues.

Circadian Rhythms, Melatonin, and Sleep Research

Psychiatric Treatment by Light to the Eyes

Seasonality, however, is not essential for the light effect: The much larger cohort of patients with non-seasonal depression also responds to morning light. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders, especially with sleep onset insomnia, can be normalized by timed light treatment, avoiding recourse to hypnotic drugs. New applications of light treatment with promising initial data include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, fibromyalgia and other pain disorders, and symptoms of Parkinson's disease and dementia.

So pretty much exactly what I've been saying. It's actually good for all humans and it is not actually "treating" anything. It is simply the absence of light that makes everything worse. Psychotropic drugs are not that great and have tons of side effects. They should not be the first choice, but with pharma spending ten billion on digital ads this year, they often are.

Sleep problems and risk of all-cause cognitive declineor dementia: an updated systematic review and meta-analysis

Ten types of sleep conditions or parameters, including six (insomnia, fragmentation, daytime dysfunction, prolonged latency, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder and excessive time in bed) with moderate-to-high levels of evidence, were linked to higher risk of all-cause cognitive disorders. Furthermore, a U-shaped relationship was revealed for the associations with sleep duration.

Melatonin Effects on Glucose Metabolism: Time To Unlock the Controversy

The concurrence of elevated melatonin concentrations with food intake in human decreases glucose tolerance, whereas high melatonin during fasting may facilitate beta cell recovery.

Epigenetics: A Bridge between Artificial Light at Night and Breast Cancer

"The second most frequent cancer all over the world is breast cancer (BC).It is reported that only about 10% BC cases are attributed due to inherited genetic mutations while remaining 90% cancer cases are associated with environmental factors. Artificial light at night (ALAN) is considered one of the major environmental risk factors for breast cancer. It inhibits production of melatonin (MLT) from pineal gland which results in abnormal epigenetic changes that relates with an increased risk of BC. [emphasis mine]"

Breast cancers cells to big-data machine-learning genetic biotech startups:

Sidenote: that’s how you’ll look if you don’t get sleep and sunlight.

Photobiomodulation Research

Evaluation of Effectiveness of Ultraviolet Emitting Lamps on the Cutaneous Production of Vitamin D3: Relationship of the Lamps Vitamin D3 Producing Potential to the Production of 8-Hydroxy-2’-Deoxyguanosine and Nitric Oxide

One lamp demonstrated optimal production of vitamin D3 with the least amount of DNA damage and intermediate production of nitric oxide suggesting that it could be developed into a device for treating vitamin D deficiency.

Note: nitric oxide is another molecule that gets upregulated with sunlight. What else might be missing from a vitamin D supplement that sunlight delivers?

Potential Beneficial Effects of Vitamin D in Coronary Artery Disease

epidemiological data have suggested plasma levels of vitamin D to be inversely correlated to cardiac injury after acute myocardial infarction

Interestingly, while nitric oxide was mentioned as one of the treatment modalities for coronary artery disease, no connection was made between vitamin D and nitric oxide levels. If these are correlated, conclusions based on the epidemiological data could be misguided.

Effects of infrared radiation and exercise on bone mass: implications for the prevention and management of osteoporosis

Over a 12 month period, post-menopausal women undergoing 850 near-infrared LED therapy (plus a treadmill program) had about half the bone loss of the women who just had the treadmill program by itself. The light dose was 108 J/cm^2, which is several times higher than what some studies claim is the peak of a biphasic response curve. A bit more evidence in support of my hypothesis that larger effects are possible at higher doses. This is not the first time the effects of light on bones have been noted…

Herodotus on Photobiomodulation

Here is a letter to the editor of a medical journal from E. V. Wilcox in 1939 transcribed in full:


To the Editor: — In book III of Herodotus’s history, in which he described some of his travels in Egypt and Libya, an account is given of the Persian invasion of Egypt under Cambyses. Near the mouth of the so-called Pulusian Nile, the forces of Cambyses met the Egyptians under Kind Psammenitus in 525 B. C. Herodotus viewed the battle field about seventy-five years later. His attention was called to the striking difference in thickness and strength of the Persian and Egyptian skulls which were still lying on the surface of the ground. His explanation of this difference is interesting, being so far as I know the earliest recorded definite proof offered of the effect of sunshine in thickening and strengthening bone tissue. A translation of chapter 12 of book III, in as nearly the simple style of the original Ionic Greek as I can make it, runs as follows :

"I saw a great marvel of which I had heard from the natives of the country. The bones of those who fell on either side in this battle lay scattered separately. The bones of the Persians lay in one part of the field and the bones of the Egyptians in another, as the two armies had separately stood. The skulls of the Persians were so fragile that a mere pebble thrown at them would penetrate them. But those of the Egyptians were so strong that you could hardly break them with a stone. The cause of this, so the people said, and I readily agreed, is that from childhood the Egyptians shave their heads, and the bone is thickened by exposure to the sun. For the same reason they do not become bald. Of all races of men bald heads are rarest among the Egyptians. Such then is the reason for their strong skulls. And the reason why the Persians have weak skulls is that they cover their heads all their lives with felt hoods, called tiaras by the Persians. Such are the facts of the case. I noticed the same condition at Papremis in the skulls of the Persians slain by Inaros the Libyan”

So both the Greeks and the Romans picked up on the importance of sunlight. Science is a process, not an answer. If you don’t build off of the right foundations you won’t get very far. Would be interesting to see what medical science could accomplish if it did not insist on running blind with both hands tied behind its back. I would love to see scientists in medicine delivering useful technology, but they need to offer more than what can be achieved from a few basic principles, not less. Until then, for better or for worse, we’re largely on our own when it comes to health and wellbeing.

Other Stuff

If you want to read any paywalled article in full, DO NOT use sci-hub.tw to freely download it in violation of copyright law. Pay no attention to the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27: the right... to share in scientific advancement and its benefits. ;-)

Mini Portal Prototypes: There are only 4 of these left for sale and they will be ready to ship in a matter of days (first come, first serve). This an insanely bright, perfect sky-blue (zero UV, zero short wavelength blue) light that points down at you and is held up on a desk with a tall monitor arm. Nothing else like it. A friend dubbed it “a personal pocket of sunlight.” Once they’re gone, I won’t be building more for a while (maybe 6-8 months) since I’ll be focusing on near-infrared first. You can reply to this newsletter for more details (michael@fountainportal.com).

Hue is close to this blue:

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