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

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Apollo Health Systems
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Thomas Jefferson University Identifier:
First received: December 22, 2005
Last updated: July 28, 2014
Last verified: July 2014

December 22, 2005
July 28, 2014
November 2006
December 2014   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Scale - Seasonal Affective Disorder Version (SIGH-SAD); weekly for three weeks
Same as current
Complete list of historical versions of study NCT00269633 on Archive Site
Quality of Life in Depression Scale (QLDS); before and after 3-week study
Same as current
Not Provided
Not Provided
Research Study of Treatment for Winter Depression With Different Colors of Light
Optimizing Light Wavelength for Treatment of Seasonal Affective Disorder

The specific aim of this study is to test the hypothesis that light stimuli concentrated around 468 nm will evoke a significantly stronger therapeutic response in SAD patients compared to light stimuli concentrated around 654 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.

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.

Phase 2
Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Safety Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double-Blind
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Seasonal Affective Disorder
Device: Light Box
Not Provided

*   Includes publications given by the data provider as well as publications identified by Identifier (NCT Number) in Medline.
Active, not recruiting
November 2015
December 2014   (final data collection date for primary outcome measure)

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
18 Years and older
Contact information is only displayed when the study is recruiting subjects
United States
Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University
Apollo Health Systems
Principal Investigator: George C Brainard, Ph.D. Thomas Jefferson University
Thomas Jefferson University
July 2014

ICMJE     Data element required by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors and the World Health Organization ICTRP