High cortisol awakening response is associated with an impairment of the effect of bright light therapy

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Abstract:

Martiny K, Lunde M, Undén M, Dam H, Bech P. High cortisol awakening response is associated with an impairment of the effect of bright light therapy. Objective: 

We investigated the predictive validity of the cortisol awakening response (CAR) in patients with non-seasonal major depression. Method: 

Patients were treated with sertraline in combination with bright or dim light therapy for a 5-week period. Saliva cortisol levels were measured in 63 patients, as an awakening profile, before medication and light therapy started. The CAR was calculated by using three time-points: awakening and 20 and 60 min after awakening. Results: 

Patients with low CAR had a very substantial effect of bright light therapy compared with dim light therapy, whereas patients with a high CAR had no effect of bright light therapy compared with dim light therapy. Conclusion: 

High CAR was associated with an impairment of the effect of bright light therapy. This result raises the question of whether bright light acts through a mechanism different from that of antidepressants.

Keywords: cortisol; light therapy; major depression; prediction; saliva

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01359.x

Affiliations: 1: Psychiatric Research Unit, Frederiksborg General Hospital, Hillerød 2: Psychiatric Specialist Practice, Falkoner Allé, Copenhagen 3: Psychiatric Department, Rigshospitalet, Blegdamsvej, Copenhagen, Denmark

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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