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UA Researchers Find Blue Light Improves Memory

Blue light is what shines on a bright, sunny day. It also beams from TVs and tablets. And it keeps you awake, which can be a bad thing at night. But it can be a great thing in the morning.

Blue light suppresses melatonin, the hormone that makes you sleepy. A group of researchers from University of Arizona’s neuroscience lab is looking a bit further, exploring how blue light releases certain processes in the brain that trigger memory.

Anna Alkozei worked on the experiments that found when people were exposed to blue lights shortly after learning a list of words, recall was far better. 

“What this might mean is that blue light could be used as a way or as a tool to improve learning and memory in a lot of different groups of people. So I could imagine this being used as a tool for students when they are learning test material or it could be used as a way to improve memory training in elderly individuals," Alkozei said.

The study is a first of its kind and is being published in the journal PLoS One.

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Heather van Blokland moved to Phoenix in March 2016 to join KJZZ as a host/producer, after working as an on-air host/producer at Oregon Public Broadcasting in Portland, covering middays, weekends and most everything in between. van Blokland previously worked as a Morning Edition host and reporter at Florida NPR affiliate WUFT-FM, covering business and agriculture beats. She was also the local producer and editor for StoryCorps’ story booth.Like many in public media, van Blokland brings a diverse background to her daily duties. Her first career was in the private sector as a financial analyst manager in commercial and investment banking. She also used to teach canoeing and kayaking on the local rivers in North Central Florida. Her education includes a master’s in mass communication from the University of Florida, a bachelor’s in finance, marketing and multinational business from Florida State University, and a diploma in acting for film and television from Vancouver Film School in Vancouver, British Columbia. She wrote and produced a film, later submitted to the Vancouver International Film Festival.In her free time, van Blokland enjoys exploring the outdoors, everything from a hike on South Mountain to Vancouver's Butchart Gardens to a ride through Swaziland’s Mkhaya Game Reserve. Her travels have included South Africa, Swaziland, western Canada, Australia, the British Isles, Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay and summers on the outskirts of London. She is also a certified open-water diver, and still looking to apply that skill in Phoenix.Half Southern and half English, van Blokland enjoys using phrases that surprise people. She does not enjoy steak and kidney pie or Monty Python. You can send your ardent disagreements with this statement to her directly at [email protected].