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Biol Psychiatry. 2006 Mar 15;59(6):502-7. Epub 2005 Sep 13.

Light therapy for seasonal affective disorder with blue narrow-band light-emitting diodes (LEDs).

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19107, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

While light has proven an effective treatment for Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), an optimal wavelength combination has not been determined. Short wavelength light (blue) has demonstrated potency as a stimulus for acute melatonin suppression and circadian phase shifting.

METHODS:

This study tested the efficacy of short wavelength light therapy for SAD. Blue light emitting diode (LED) units produced 468 nm light at 607 microW/cm2 (27 nm half-peak bandwidth); dim red LED units provided 654 nm at 34 microW/cm2 (21 nm half-peak bandwidth). Patients with major depression with a seasonal pattern, a score of > or =20 on the Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale-SAD version (SIGH-SAD) and normal sleeping patterns (routine bedtimes between 10:00 pm and midnight) received 45 minutes of morning light treatment daily for 3 weeks. Twenty-four patients completed treatment following random assignment of condition (blue vs. red light). The SIGH-SAD was administered weekly.

RESULTS:

Mixed-effects analyses of covariance determined that the short wavelength light treatment decreased SIGH-SAD scores significantly more than the dimmer red light condition (F = 6.45, p = .019 for average over the post-treatment times).

CONCLUSIONS:

Narrow bandwidth blue light at 607 microW/cm2 outperforms dimmer red light in reversing symptoms of major depression with a seasonal pattern.

PMID:
16165105
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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