Science Questions

Do blind people suffer from depression because of light deprivation?

Sun, 6th Jul 2008

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Rollin Kent, Mexico asked:

Do blind people suffer from depression because of light deprivation?


We put this question to Professor Russell Foster:

I think it’s such an interesting idea because we’ve published a paper last year on an individual who has no rods and cones but can still regulate their body clock using these new receptors to the light-dark cycle.  It’s only with the discovery of these cells that we can ask question like that.  The assumption then, has been – well, you’re depressed because you can’t see.  We’re starting some studies to look at depression in individuals who have those cells but don’t have the capacity to see.


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rollin kent asked the Naked Scientists: Hello naked scientists, I've been listening to the NS for a year now and I've loved every show. I have a question you might help me with. Living in Norway for a few months last year, I became acutely aware of the importance of light to stave off depression -- I seem to be particularly susceptible to this. My question: do blind people suffer depressión from light deprivation? Thanks and all the best, rollin What do you think? rollin kent, Sun, 15th Jun 2008

Welcome to the forum and that is an interesting question... Makes me wonder does the light have to be seen in order to be a viable aid to ward off depression.. or does the light merely have to shine on you or about your body.. ?

I would think, purely guessing that it may aid you regardless as to weather it ie seen by your eyes, although one might think if the eye is unable to receive the light through the retina that the brain may not trigger the proper chemicals to prevent the depression???
I am strictly a layman and have no knowledge here in this But would be very curious to see what more educated experts think about that..

Kent.. someone will come with an educated answer.. Nice question...Enjoy the forum! Karen W., Sun, 15th Jun 2008

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