Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Lighting Up a Life, Literally

The New York Times > Health > Vital Signs: Therapy: Lighting Up a Life, Literally


Exposure to bright artificial light can relieve some cases of depression as effectively as psychotherapy or antidepressant medication, new research suggests.

In a statistical review of 20 rigorously designed studies, researchers found strong evidence that exposure to artificial broad-spectrum light was a good treatment not only for seasonal affective disorder, in which people become more depressed in the darker days of winter, but for the more common nonseasonal depression.

The review appears in the April issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry.

Dr. Robert N. Golden, professor and chairman of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and the lead author, said he was once skeptical of such treatments.

"I noticed that there were a lot of really bad studies being published" that claimed good results based on weak evidence, Dr. Golden said.

"But when you throw out the bad studies and look at the good ones, the data are actually very impressive."

Light therapy usually involves sitting in front of white fluorescent lights with eyes open but not looking directly at the light source.

Treatment time varies from 15 minutes to 90 minutes a day.

Dawn simulation, a variation of the treatment, recreates the timing and intensity of a normal sunrise each morning.

Symptoms can start to diminish within weeks.

Dr. Golden warns that the studies have not been large and that the standards for what constitutes exactly the right exposure have not yet been established.

Summarized by Copernic Summarizer

1 comment:

  1. Hi, hope you don't mind, but I just stopped by and read a couple of your updates.

    That article was the most enlightening piece of work I've read in a long time. I hope I'm not being too bold.

    Thanks for sharing this.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.