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Subliminal ultraviolet-B irradiation for the prevention of vitamin D deficiency in the elderly: a feasibility study

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Alexis Chuck, Jacqueline Todd, Emeritus Professor Brian Diffey


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Aim: To investigate whether daily subliminal ultraviolet-B irradiation in elderly subjects can maintain a normal vitamin D status. Material and methods: In an open, uncontrolled study, 10 residents (four men and six women), mean age on entry of 83 years (range 65-97 years), from a residential nursing home in County Durham, England, were exposed daily to an artificial source of ultraviolet-B radiation equivalent to 15 min of summer sunshine. The change in plasma 25-hydroxyvitamin D levels following irradiation was measured, Results: Improvement in the vitamin D status of the elderly residents was achieved with no change in their routine and with no intervention on the part of carers. Conclusions: On the basis of this small pilot study we conclude that subliminal ultraviolet-B irradiation may be effective in maintaining vitamin D status in elderly people at a lower cost than that of using oral vitamin D supplementation. Further controlled studies are needed before this technique can be recommended to change health policy with regard to the vitamin D status of institutionalised elderly people.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Chuck A, Todd J, Diffey B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Photodermatology, Photoimmunology & Photomedicine

Year: 2001

Volume: 17

Issue: 4

Pages: 168-171

ISSN (print): 0905-4383

ISSN (electronic): 1600-0781

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing, Inc.


DOI: 10.1034/j.1600-0781.2001.170405.x


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