Daily exposure to blue light may accelerate aging, even if it doesn’t reach your eyes

Prolonged exposure to blue light, such as that which emanates from your phone, computer and household fixtures, could be affecting your longevity, even if it’s not shining in your eyes. New research at Oregon State University suggests that the blue wavelengths produced by light-emitting diodes damage cells in the brain as well as retinas. The study, involved a widely used organism, Drosophila melanogaster, the common fruit fly, an important model organism because of the cellular and developmental mechanisms it shares with other animals and humans.

young woman using the smart phone on bed before sleep

Jaga Giebultowicz, a researcher in the OSU College of Science who studies biological clocks, led a research collaboration that examined how flies responded to daily 12-hour exposures to blue LED light — similar to the prevalent blue wavelength in devices like phones and tablets — and found that the light accelerated aging. Flies subjected to daily cycles of 12 hours in light and 12 hours in darkness had shorter lives compared to flies kept in total darkness or those kept in light with the blue wavelengths filtered out. The flies exposed to blue light showed damage to their retinal cells and brain neurons and had impaired locomotion — the flies’ ability to climb the walls of their enclosures, a common behavior, was diminished.

Some of the flies in the experiment were mutants that do not develop eyes, and even those eyeless flies displayed brain damage and locomotion impairments, suggesting flies didn’t have to see the light to be harmed by it. “The fact that the light was accelerating aging in the flies was very surprising to us at first,” said Giebultowicz, a professor of integrative biology. “We’d measured expression of some genes in old flies, and found that stress-response, protective genes were expressed if flies were kept in light. We hypothesized that light was regulating those genes. Then we started asking, what is it in the light that is harmful to them, and we looked at the spectrum of light. It was very clear cut that although light without blue slightly shortened their lifespan, just blue light alone shortened their lifespan very dramatically.”

Natural light, Giebultowicz notes, is crucial for the body’s circadian rhythm — the 24-hour cycle of physiological processes such as brain wave activity, hormone production and cell regeneration that are important factors in feeding and sleeping patterns. “But there is evidence suggesting that increased exposure to artificial light is a risk factor for sleep and circadian disorders,” she said. “And with the prevalent use of LED lighting and device displays, humans are subjected to increasing amounts of light in the blue spectrum since commonly used LEDs emit a high fraction of blue light. But this technology, LED lighting, even in most developed countries, has not been used long enough to know its effects across the human lifespan.”

Giebultowicz says that the flies, if given a choice, avoid blue light. In the meantime, there are a few things people can do to help themselves that don’t involve sitting for hours in darkness, the researchers say. Eyeglasses with amber lenses will filter out the blue light and protect your retinas. And phones, laptops and other devices can be set to block blue emissions.

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Neptune moons ‘dance’ to avoid cosmic collision

The orbits of Neptune’s two innermost moons are very odd, according to new research released by NASA. This planet boasts at least 14 moons. Neso, the farthest-flung of them, orbits in an extremely elliptical loop carrying it almost 46 million miles (74 million km) away from the planet, taking 27 years to complete. Naiad and Thalassa are small and shaped like Tic Tacs, spanning only about 60 miles (100 km) in length. Orbital dynamics experts have dubbed the cosmic choreography of these tiny moons as a “dance of avoidance”. The pair orbit Neptune only 1,150 miles (1,850km) apart, yet  they miraculously always manage to miss each other as Naiad’s orbit is tilted and perfectly timed.

Every time the moon passes the slower-moving Thalassa, the couple move 2,200 miles (3,540km) apart. These trajectories sees Naiad hurtle around the frozen planet every seven hours, while the closer Thalassa takes half an hour more. An astronaut sitting on Thalassa would see Naiad in an apparently wild zigzagging orbit, passing by twice from above and then twice from below.

This pattern repeats every time Naiad gains four laps on Thalassa. And NASA has revealed how although the dance may appear odd, it keeps the orbits stable. Marina Brozović, an expert in solar system dynamics at NASA, said: “We refer to this repeating pattern as a resonance. “There are many different types of ‘dances’ that planets, moons and asteroids can follow, but this one has never been seen before.”

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Opening Ceremony – League of Legends – 2019 World Championship Finals

Riot Games has debuted hologram technology for this year’s League of Legends World Championship final opening ceremony. Using a product called Holonet, a fabric mesh scrim with metallic filament woven into the fibers, and precise lighting in the arena,they were able to bring characters from the game to life with hologram effects.

Valerie Broussard of Philadelphia kicked off the holographic concert by performing “Awaken,” a song released earlier in the year to signal the beginning of the League of Legends calendar year. The debut single from augmented reality hip-hop group True Damage, “Giants,” consisting of vocals from Rebecca “Becky G” Marie Gomez, Jeon “Soyeon” So-yeon, Umar “Thutmose” Ibrahim, Jared “Duckwrth” Lee and Keke Palmer was also performed. In addition to these songs, the tournament’s anthem, “Phoenix,” was performed by Chrissy Costanza and Cailin Russo.

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