Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Melatonin Improves Mood In Winter Depression

Date:
May 2, 2006
Source:
Oregon Health And Science University
Summary:
Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University have found that melatonin, a naturally occurring brain substance, can relieve the doldrums of winter depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Researchers at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) have found that melatonin, a naturally occurring brain substance, can relieve the doldrums of winter depression, also known as seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The study is publishing online this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

Related Articles


The study was led by Alfred Lewy, M.D., Ph.D., an internationally recognized pioneer in the study of circadian (24-hour) rhythm disturbances, such as those found in air travelers and shift workers, as well as in totally blind people.

Lewy and his colleagues in the OHSU Sleep and Mood Disorders Lab set out to test the hypothesis that circadian physiological rhythms become misaligned with the sleep/wake cycle during the short days of winter, causing some people to become depressed. Usually these rhythms track to the later dawn in winter, resulting in a circadian phase delay with respect to sleep similar to what happens flying westward. Some people appear to be tracking to the earlier dusk of winter, causing a similar amount of misalignment but in the phase-advance direction. Symptom severity in SAD patients correlated with the misalignment in either direction.

The treatment of choice for most SAD patients is bright light exposure, which causes phase advances when scheduled in the morning. Because patients know when they are exposed to bright light, however, there is a considerable placebo response associated with it. Melatonin can also cause phase advances, but it has to be taken in the afternoon. The Lewy team used afternoon melatonin to test if it was more antidepressant than melatonin taken in the morning, which causes phase delays.

The researchers randomly assigned 68 SAD patients to one of three treatment groups, taking placebo capsules or melatonin in the morning or afternoon for three weeks. After four years of study, they concluded that, similar to persistent jet lag, circadian misalignment is a major part of SAD.

Most patients, typically phase-delayed types or "night owls," have misalignment that responded best to taking low-dose melatonin in the afternoon or evening. A longer-than-expected subgroup of SAD patients, phase-advanced types or "morning larks," responded best to taking low-dose melatonin in the morning. Melatonin did not cause drowsiness, because the doses used were lower than what is usually taken at bedtime.

In addition to bright light exposure, another treatment may be in the offing once low-dose, sustained-release melatonin formulations become available. "However, people in the phase-advanced subgroup should use these treatments at different times of the day than the typically phase-delayed type of patient," explained Lewy, adding that more research is needed.

Lewy is the Richard H. Phillips Professor of Biological Psychiatry, senior vice chairman of psychiatry, and director of the Sleep and Mood Disorders Lab, OHSU School of Medicine.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Oregon Health And Science University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Oregon Health And Science University. "Melatonin Improves Mood In Winter Depression." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 May 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060501113832.htm>.
Oregon Health And Science University. (2006, May 2). Melatonin Improves Mood In Winter Depression. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060501113832.htm
Oregon Health And Science University. "Melatonin Improves Mood In Winter Depression." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/05/060501113832.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Christmas Kissing Good for Health

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Scientists in Amsterdam say couples transfer tens of millions of microbes when they kiss, encouraging healthy exposure to bacteria. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Touch-Free Smart Phone Empowers Mobility-Impaired

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) A touch-free phone developed in Israel enables the mobility-impaired to operate smart phones with just a movement of the head. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Earthworms Provide Cancer-Fighting Bacteria

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 21, 2014) Polish scientists isolate bacteria from earthworm intestines which they say may be used in antibiotics and cancer treatments. Suzannah Butcher reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins