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Seasonal Affective Disorder

            Just as animals react differently to the seasons, so do we as humans. Whether it is our mood that changes, or our daily activities, there is a definite change. As Summer begins to fade and leaves fall from the trees, we know it is coming; the cold dark weather that winter brings. Winter is known for it's shorter days and longer nights. Many people feel Winter is a dark and gloomy time of the year. This affects different people in different ways. The effect has become known as Seasonal Affective Disorder, winter depression, or a term everyone might be familiar with is wintertime blues. As research has proven, there is a cause for this disorder. Some humans may be affected more then others, and there is a known way to alleviate the effects as researched by physicians.
             Seasonal Affective Disorder was recognized in the year 1845. However, it wasn't until the early nineteen eighties that Dr. A.J. Lewy came up with the term. An excerpt taken from Sunnex bio technologies "The History of Light Therapy" will give you history on Seasonal Affective Disorder and how it came to be known. Until recent it was believed that humans do not respond to the seasonal change in day-length, as other mammals do. However, in 1980 Dr. A.J. Lewy and co-workers at the National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) demonstrate that the high-intensity light effects the natural release of melatonin by the pineal gland in the brain in people. The finding determined that human physiology is influenced by light.
             In 1981 Herbert Kern, a research engineer, noticed the publication of Dr. Lewy's study in the journal Science. He approached Dr. Lewy on the basis that if human physiology was sensitive to light, would it be feasible to use light to treat this depression, which he felt was related to the shortening days of winter. Mr. Kern had noticed that his depressive state appeared to be almost the same time each fall and remitted each spring.

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