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article imageStudy: Exposure to artificial light at night may cause depression

By Marcus Hondro     Jul 29, 2012 in Health
If you stay up late surfing the internet or watching TV a new study suggests it may lead you to not like doing much of anything else. More accurately, the study says your late night habits may cause you to become depressed.
Neuroscientists from Ohio State University Medical Center, partly funded by the U.S. Department of Defense, conducted the study and released their results in a journal called 'Molecular Psychiatry.' The reason behind the increased chances of depression is the increased exposure of what they characterized as artificial Light at Night (LAN).
Dim Light at Night and Depression
The paper the researchers published is entitled Chronic dim light at night provokes reversible depression-like phenotype: possible role for TNF, and, as that title implies, the condition is reversible by avoiding excess exposure to artificial dim light, though the study was not able to determine the precise levels of LAN that would lead to an increased likelihood of depression.
The researchers, who for part of their study exposed hamsters to LAN and studied the reaction in their brains, say the problem may be more severe for women, and that already studies have shown that LAN affects women to a greater degree, though not exclusively. "Chronic exposure to LAN is linked to increased risk of breast cancer, obesity and mood disorders, although the relationship to mood is not well characterized," the study says.
They point out there's been an increase in mood disorders over the past 50 years that coincides with an increase in exposure to LAN but say more study needs to be done to discover how culpable LAN actually is.
More about artificial light at night, study on mood disorders and night light, depression and exposure to night light
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