Study tests new treatments for the winter blues
If winter's long nights and cold weather have you feeling depressed, a new research study could lift your spirits. The study, lead by Janis Anderson, PH.D., an associate psychologist in the Brigham and Women's Hospital Department of Psychiatry, aims to help adult (ages 21-64) men and women with Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) by comparing two new types of light technologies to determine which one works better.
For decades, researchers have known that exposing patients to bright light can alleviate the seasonal depression associated with SAD, but the technology to treat SAD has evolved considerably over the years. Today's high-tech light boxes are increasingly small, portable and powerful. This change may give a growing number of patients access to treatment.
Enrollment of 40 volunteers for the trial is now underway at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Participants who usually develop clinical depression in the fall and winter will receive, at no cost to them, a form a light therapy. The effectiveness of the new technology will be measured over a period of six weeks to determine the effectiveness at reducing the symptoms of SAD.