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Lux vs. wavelength in light treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder

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Abstract:

Anderson JL, Glod CA, Dai J, Cao Y, Lockley SW. Lux vs. wavelength in light treatment of seasonal affective disorder. Objective: 

Published dosing guidelines for treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) refer to photopic lux, which is not appropriate for short-wavelength light. Short wavelengths are most potent for many non-visual responses to light. If SAD therapy were similarly mediated, standards utilizing lux risk overestimating necessary dose. We investigated antidepressant responses to light using two light-emitting diode (LED) sources, each emitting substantial short-wavelength light, but <2500 lux. Method: 

A randomized, double-blind trial investigated 3-week 45 min/day out-patient treatment with blue-appearing (goLITE®) or blue-enriched white-appearing light in 18 moderately-depressed adults (12F, 49.1 ± 9.5 years). Equivalent numbers of photons within the short-wavelength range were emitted, but the white source emitted twice as many photons overall and seven-fold more lux. Results: 

Depression ratings (SIGH-ADS; http://www.cet.org) decrease averaged 82% (SD = 17%) from baseline (P < 0.0001) in both white- and blue-light groups. Both sources were well tolerated. Conclusion: 

Short-wavelength LED light sources may be effective in SAD treatment at fewer lux than traditional fluorescent sources.

Keywords: Seasonal Affective Disorder; melanopsin; phototherapy

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1600-0447.2009.01345.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychiatry, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA 2: School of Pharmacy, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA 3: School of Nursing, Bouvé College of Health Sciences, Northeastern University, Boston, MA, USA 4: Department of Medicine, Division of Sleep Medicine, Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA

Publication date: September 1, 2009

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