Monday, September 8, 2008

SAD and Serotonin Studies

As summer ends and days get shorter, many people will suffer from seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. The shortened hours of sunlight can affect mood and even cause depression in some people.

New research at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health in Canada may have discovered the reason. The researchers at CAMH have discovered greater levels of serotonin transporter in the brain during winter than in the summer.

Serotonin is involved in regulating physical functions such as eating and energy balance, and emotional functions like mood and energy levels. The scientific team at CAMH believes that more serotonin is transported during the fall/winter than in the spring/summer.

According to Dr. Jeffrey Meyer this is “an important lead in understanding how season changes serotonin levels. This offers an explanation for why some healthy people experience low mood and energy in the winter, and why there is a regular reoccurrence of depressive episodes in fall and winter in some vulnerable individuals. The next steps will be to understand what causes this change and how to interfere with it.”

More at The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health