Wednesday, September 19, 2007

SAD During The Winter?

The brains of people with seasonal depression may be too efficient at bundling away a key chemical, a new study suggests.

New Scientist has released an article today on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). SAD mainly affects those during the autumn and winter months by inducing a type of depression. This depression can affect a person in variable ways and usually will subside during the spring and summer. Until now, the reasoning behind this phenomena has been a mystery, but there have been speculations as to why this occurs. Now, Matthaeus Willeit and Harald Sitte from the University of Vienna have evidence that the synaptic cleft is being sucked dry too quickly of the neurotransmitters that are responsible for abating depression. Tests were conducted, blood was drawn and "bright light" therapy was administered. The conclusion: In blood taken during winter depression, SAD patients had significantly more removal events per minute than those in the healthy control group – about 350 compared with 200.

So, what does this mean? Scientists now have a starting point in dealing wiht SAD. In some of the patients, the light therapy helped to return their seratonin uptake back to normal levels (like those seen in the spring or summer). So it would seem that light affects this type of depression and would be a viable study to see more research dollars handed its way.

You can read more here.

Some questions:
-Do you suffer from SAD?
-What do you find that usually triggers depression or sadness?
-How do you cope with those times?
-Does research like this give you any hope?
-Have you/will you try the bright light therapy?

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