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Research Study of Treatment for Winter Depression With Different Colors of Light

This study has been completed.
Apollo Health Systems
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Thomas Jefferson University Identifier:
First received: December 22, 2005
Last updated: March 2, 2016
Last verified: March 2016

The specific aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that light stimuli concentrated around 467 nm will evoke a significantly stronger therapeutic response in SAD patients compared to light stimuli concentrated around 657 nm at an equal photon density.

The secondary objective of this study is to determine the efficacy of different colors and levels of light in order to optimize therapeutic benefit, while also minimizing side effects and maintaining safety of light exposure.

Condition Intervention Phase
Seasonal Affective Disorder Device: Blue Light Box 467 nm Device: Red Light Box 657 nm Phase 2

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double (Participant, Care Provider)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: Optimizing Light Wavelength for Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Thomas Jefferson University:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Scale - Seasonal Affective Disorder Version (SIGH-SAD); Weekly for Three Weeks [ Time Frame: Averaged over Three Weeks During Treatment ]
    Outcome for Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Scale - Seasonal Affective Disorder Version (SIGH-SAD) reported is the average over 3 weeks. Lower values represent less depressive symptoms. Range is 0-53.

Enrollment: 9
Study Start Date: November 2006
Study Completion Date: May 2008
Primary Completion Date: May 2008 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Placebo Comparator: Red Light Box 657 nm
Red Light Box 657 nm
Device: Red Light Box 657 nm
657 nm Red LED Light
Active Comparator: Blue Light Box 467 nm
Blue Light Box 467 nm
Device: Blue Light Box 467 nm
467 nm Blue LED Light

Detailed Description:
Studies report as many as 1 out of every 5 Americans is affected by mild to severe Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD, winter depression). Although the exact cause of this condition is unknown, bright light has proven to be an effective therapeutic treatment for many people with SAD. The light sources that have been traditionally used for treatment of SAD produce white light with great variability in the balance of wavelengths that are emitted across the visible spectrum. Although several studies have attempted to test the effectiveness of different wavelengths for treatment of SAD, the devices used in those studies employed broad bandwidths of light. With the technological advancements in light emitting diodes (LEDs) the production of new light therapy equipment with much narrower bandwidths of light is possible. Side effects of exposure to traditional white light therapy for SAD have included hypomanic activation, irritability, headache, eyestrain and nausea. We hypothesize that when the wavelength of light therapy is optimized, it should be feasible to elicit strong therapeutic benefits with lower light intensities and fewer side effects. Previous studies, approved by the Jefferson IRB and successfully completed by our laboratory have shown that some colors of light are more effective in treating SAD than other colors.

Ages Eligible for Study:   18 Years and older   (Adult, Senior)
Sexes Eligible for Study:   All
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Clinical diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder
  • Over 18 years old
  • Stable sleeping pattern with a bedtime no later than 1 a.m.

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Pregnant women
  • Concurrent psychiatric illness that would preclude compliance with the protocol
  • active suicidal or homicidal ideation or plan
  • variable psychiatric illness (i.e. rapid cycling disorder or severe premenstrual syndrome)
  • individuals with substance abuse or dependence who have not been in remission for at least one year
  • individuals taking photosensitizing medications
  • individuals with macular degeneration or other ocular conditions which might be adversely affected by light
  • less then six weeks after onset of psychotherapeutic treatment
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00269633

United States, Pennsylvania
Thomas Jefferson University
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States, 19107
Sponsors and Collaborators
Thomas Jefferson University
Apollo Health Systems
Principal Investigator: George C Brainard, Ph.D. Thomas Jefferson University
  More Information


Responsible Party: Thomas Jefferson University Identifier: NCT00269633     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: 080-19000-J11401
Study First Received: December 22, 2005
Results First Received: May 18, 2015
Last Updated: March 2, 2016
Individual Participant Data (IPD) Sharing Statement:
Plan to Share IPD: No

Keywords provided by Thomas Jefferson University:
Seasonal Affective Disorder

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Mood Disorders
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Mental Disorders
Depressive Disorder processed this record on August 21, 2017