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Seasonal Affective Disorder Treatments Compared

Naturalistic dawn simulation and high-density negative air ionization equivalent to bright light

TUESDAY, Dec. 26 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with seasonal affective disorder, or SAD, naturalistic dawn simulation and high-density negative air ionization delivered during the final hours of sleep may be effective alternatives to post-awakening bright light therapy, according to study findings published in the December issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.

Michael Terman, Ph.D., of Columbia University and New York State Psychiatric Institute in New York City, and a colleague studied 99 adults with the winter seasonal pattern of major depressive disorder (94 patients) and bipolar II disorder (5 patients).

The researchers found that bright light therapy, dawn simulation and high-density negative air ionization were associated with similar rates of symptom improvement (57.1 percent, 49.5 percent and 47.9 percent, respectively). Low-density negative air ionization had a lower improvement rate (22.7 percent). Dawn pulse, while initially seen to have an improvement rate of 42.7 percent, led to a pattern of residual or exacerbated depressive symptoms similar to those seen in low-density ion non-responders.

"Given the approximate equivalence of naturalistic dawn simulation, high-density ionization and bright light, the choice between them may depend on convenience and ease of compliance," the authors conclude.

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