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Description: In Egypt, rates of clinical depression are highest in December and rates of mania are highest in June. Why might that be? ….“Sunlight on my shoulders makes me happy” to quote John Denver. A signature line in a kitschy song but is there some truth to it from a clinical perspective? What do you think? How does being in sunlight make you feel? How might being in sunlight relate to things like mood and rates of recovery from physical illness, surgery and even depression? How do you think they might be related? Once you have a hypothesis in mind read the article linked below that will take you back to detailed observations made by non-other than Florence Henderson (nursing pioneer and inveterate data gatherer) and provide an overview of research into the possible impact of sun and of light therapy on a range of conditions and disorders.

Source: Sunlight is the Best Medicine, Abigail Strubel, in blog of Michael Terman, Chronotherapy, Psychology Today.

Date: December 1, 2017

Photo Credit:  wikipedia

Links:  Article Link — https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/chronotherapy/201712/sunlight-is-the-best-medicine

So what do you think about the relationship between sun/light exposure and many many positive things? If the results did not surprise you, what thoughts do you have about how it is that sunlight has the effects it seems to have? The work described is a good example of how certain things that have demonstrably positive clinical value can be used as part of treatment even if we do not actually know why they seem to help and what their mechanism of action actually is. The key is the collection of consistent and copious data that can support our treatment plans and remaining open to figuring out just why the treatment is having a positive effect.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What are some of the conditions and situations that seem to be helped by sunlight?
  2. How is it that sunlight has the effects it has been shown to have?
  3. What sorts of evaluation research design considerations should we have in mind if we were to attempt to evaluate the effects and impacts of sunlight therapy on disorders like depression, surgical patient recover rates and schizophrenia?

References (Read Further):

Hobday, R. (2007). The Light Revolution: Health, Architecture and the Sun. Findhorn Press.

Benedetti, F., Colombo, C., Barbini, B., Campori, E., & Smeraldi, E. (2001). Morning sunlight reduces length of hospitalization in bipolar depression. Journal of affective disorders, 62(3), 221-223. http://www.academia.edu/download/40104638/Morning_sunlight_reduces_length_of_hospi20151117-27862-1i7fsym.pdf

Lambert, G., Reid, C., Kaye, D., Jennings, G., & Esler, M. (2003). Increased suicide rate in the middle-aged and its association with hours of sunlight. American Journal of Psychiatry, 160(4), 793-795. http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/doi/full/10.1176/appi.ajp.160.4.793

Walch, J. M., Rabin, B. S., Day, R., Williams, J. N., Choi, K., & Kang, J. D. (2005). The effect of sunlight on postoperative analgesic medication use: a prospective study of patients undergoing spinal surgery. Psychosomatic medicine, 67(1), 156-163. http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.537.947&rep=rep1&type=pdf

Labban, L. (2017). Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), Vitamin D Deficiency and Diabetes Mellitus. of, 2, 2. https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dr_Louay_Labban/publication/319549782_Journal_of_Global_Diabetes_Clinical_Metabolism_Seasonal_Affective_Disorder_SAD_Vitamin_D_Deficiency_and_Diabetes_Mellitus/links/59b2d5a90f7e9b37434ea6eb/Journal-of-Global-Diabetes-Clinical-Metabolism-Seasonal-Affective-Disorder-SAD-Vitamin-D-Deficiency-and-Diabetes-Mellitus.pdf

Swanson, V., Sharpe, T., Porteous, C., Hunter, C., & Shearer, D. (2016). Indoor Annual Sunlight Opportunity in Domestic Dwellings May Predict Well-Being in Urban Residents in Scotland. Ecopsychology, 8(2), 121-130. http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/full/10.1089/eco.2015.0059

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