for people ages 60 years and up (full criteria)
healthy people welcome
at La Jolla, California
study started
estimated completion:
Jeanne Maglione



The Light-Heart study is a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial investigating the effects of bright white light (BWL) therapy on depressive symptoms, quality of life, and functioning in patients with Stage B heart failure. The study is a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of 8 weeks of morning BWL therapy compared with morning dim red light (DRL) treatment in older (60 years or older) 122 Stage B (early, asymptomatic) HF patients.


The Light-Heart study is randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of 8 weeks of morning BWL therapy, compared with DRL in older, Stage B HF patients with clinically significant levels of depressive symptoms. The primary hypothesis of the proposed study is that compared to DRL, BWL therapy will be associated with a significantly greater reduction in depressive symptoms. Important information about compliance and tolerability associated with the BWL intervention in Stage B HF patients will also be gathered. The investigators will examine whether BWL therapy is associated with greater improvements in quality of life and subjective functioning compared to DRL. Finally, the researchers will investigate whether BWL is associated with a sustained improvement in depressive symptoms 2 and 4 weeks following the end of the intervention compared to DRL.

One hundred twenty-two older adults (≥60 years) with Stage B HF and depressive symptoms (Beck Depression Inventory/BDI score ≥10) will be recruited from several University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and Veteran's Affairs (VA) cardiology clinics. The baseline assessment will include evaluation of depressive symptoms (BDI), quality of life (Quality of Life Enjoyment and Satisfaction questionnaire), subjective functioning (Short Form-36), and an assessment of patient expectations regarding the study intervention (single question, 5 point scale). These measures will be assessed again after 4 and 8 weeks of treatment and at 2 and 4 weeks following the end of the BWL therapy intervention along with side effects (Frequency, Intensity, and Burden of Side Effects Rating).

Participants will be randomized to receive BWL (n=61) or DRL (n=61) light therapy boxes (Litebook® Elite; Litebook® Inc., Medicine Hat, CA) to use at home for 60 minutes each morning for 8 weeks. If participants are currently receiving treatment (e.g. antidepressant therapy), participants will continue their usual treatment while in the study. Participants will be told that the effects of a particular light therapy protocol on mood and functioning is being investigated. Participants will be made aware that there is a treatment condition of interest and a comparison condition and that participants will be randomly assigned to one or the other group. Participants will not be told that different colors of light are being used or that BWL is the treatment of interest. The Litebooks® will look identical except for the color of the light. Weekly telephone calls will encourage compliance, and compliance meters will record when the Litebooks® are turned on or off. A blood sample will also be collected from each patient to assess for biomarkers.


Depression Stage B Heart Failure depressive symptoms bright white light light therapy Heart Failure LiteBook Bright White Light (BWL) Litebook Dim Red Light (DRL) Litebook


You can join if…

Open to people ages 60 years and up

  • age ≥ 60 years
  • Written informed consent
  • BDI score ≥ 10
  • Stage B heart failure diagnosis
  • no antidepressant pharmacotherapy or on stable dose of antidepressant (>8 weeks)
  • on stable dose of cardiac medications (>8 weeks)

You CAN'T join if...

  • self-reported history of bipolar disorder
  • psychiatric diagnoses by Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) (ie; bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, major neurocognitive disorder)
  • serious suicide or homicide risk (outpatient care judged unsafe)
  • recent initiation or change of dose in antidepressant or cardiac medications (within past 8 weeks)
  • current use of supplements with putative effects on mood or sleep (e.g St. John's Wort, melatonin)
  • recent initiation of evidence based psychotherapy for mood
  • prior use of BWL therapy
  • unstable medical illness requiring hospitalization
  • uncontrolled seizure disorder
  • retinopathies
  • macular degeneration
  • shift work


  • University of California, San Diego accepting new patients
    La Jolla California 929093 United States


accepting new patients
Start Date
Completion Date
University of California, San Diego
Lead Scientist
Jeanne Maglione
Study Type
Last Updated
October 2016