What is this
is a research study of the effectiveness of light and negative air
ions for treating
winter depression when presented either during the final hours of sleep
or upon awakening. All of these are non-drug approaches
to treating symptoms, and we are investigating how these three treatments
each other in relieving the symptoms of winter depression, otherwise known
as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).
is voluntary and treatment is free. You must be 18 to 65 years old to be
eligible. Participants receive expert diagnosis and supervision along
with loan of the treatment apparatus. Read below to find out if this
study is right for you.
do people get depressed during the winter and not the summer?
the summer, when people who get winter depression are feeling well,
both the amount of
sunlight and negative ions in the air circulation are at higher levels
than in the winter. People who are especially sensitive to
these environmental factors may be most likely to experience SAD.
are the symptoms of winter depression?
having the “blues,” people with SAD typically experience a range of distinct
problems. Here’s a useful checklist, although not all of these
symptoms need be present:
- Seeping too much,
or having trouble waking up
- Fatigue or lack
- Annual weight
gain, with weight loss in spring and summer
- Loss of interest
or pleasure in activities
- Feeling down,
sad, or hopeless
- Feeling bad about
yourself or feeling you were letting yourself or family down
- Moving or
speaking so slowly that other people could notice
Again, people with
winter depression feel energetic, motivated and “normal” in the spring and
summer months. If you experience some of these symptoms, you might
be eligible for our study.
Soon after waking up, you sit at a
special lighting device for 30 minutes. While doing this, you can
read, write, eat breakfast, or do any number of other quiet activities.
While you are still asleep, an automatic
computerized lighting device mimics a natural springtime dawn. Treatment
is over by the time you wake up.
Also during sleep, a silent electronic
device in your bedroom activates to create atmospheric conditions similar
start with treatment for three weeks to test its effectiveness. The treatments
vary in dose (i.e., the intensity of the ionization) or timing (i.e., how
quickly the artificial dawn rises), and are randomly assigned. The
informed consent process will include a discussion of the risks and
benefits of participation.
visit the New York State Psychiatric Institute for periodic evaluation
sessions. Scheduling is flexible.
completing a treatment period, participants have the opportunity
to try one of the
other treatments for comparison.
Clinical Chronobiology group is the major U.S. center studying treatments
Seasonal Affective Disorder. They have produced numerous clinical and
scientific publications on the topic. Founded 1984, they pioneered the
concept that environmental therapies – supplementing indoor light and air
conditions – leads to an improved mood state in people with depression. This
discovery was made while treating people with winter depression.
Michael Terman, Director, received his Ph.D. degree in physiological
psychology from Brown
University, and is a Professor in the Psychiatry Department at Columbia’s
College of Physicians & Surgeons. He collaborates in his work
with his long-time associate, Dr. Jiuan Su Terman, and their associates
Boulos and Dr. Mila Macchi.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CLINICAL TRIAL,
PLEASE CALL 212-543-5714
FOR EMAIL US AT
mentioning your interest in the winter depression study.