Investigation of an Immediate Effect of Bright Light on Oxygen Consumption, Heart Rate, Cortisol, and α-Amylase in Seasonal Affective Disorder Subjects and Healthy ControlsIvanova I.A. · Danilenko K.V. · Aftanas L.I.
Institute of Physiology and Basic Medicine, Novosibirsk, Russia
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Background: Body (fat) mass has been shown to decrease following bright light treatment for overweight women, irrespective of their seasonal (light) dependence. It is not known if this is due to an (immediate) increase of metabolism. Methods: Ten women with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) and 10 non-SAD women matched by age, body mass index, and menopausal status participated in a laboratory study in the morning, twice within 1-5 days. During one session, bright light (4,300 lx) was presented for 30 min, and during the other session, red light (250 lx “placebo”) was used. After an initial 15 min of sitting quietly in an experimental chamber, 10-min measurements were done before, at the end, and 15 min after light exposure; the subjects remained seated for 80 min in total. The measurements included 5-min oxyspirography (oxygen consumption, carbon dioxide emission, and heart rate), saliva sampling for the estimation of cortisol and α-amylase concentrations, and self-rating of mood, energy, and sleepiness. Results: There was no light-specific effect on the measured variables, except that sleepiness was reduced more with bright light than with red light in the combined group. α-Amylase values were lower in the SAD patients than in the non-SAD controls. Conclusions: Morning artificial bright light, in comparison with dim red light, had no immediate effect on metabolism and resting sympathetic tone, though subjective sleepiness decreased more with bright light. SAD patients have low salivary α-amylase levels, indicating lower sympathetic tone.
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