Hyperthermia As Treatment For Depression

haidut

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I was pleasantly surprised to see this recent study, but unfortunately the rationale given for its positive findings suggests that the irrational research on serotonin will continue (as Peat said). The study used whole-body heating and found that this hyperthermia resulted in strong decrease of depressive symptoms. The official explanation is that the hyperthermia caused the brain to produce more serotonin, but in fact the opposite is usually true - i.e. cooling the body down increases production of serotonin as that slows down metabolism in preparation for starving and (in some animals) hibernation. Treatment with thyroid, aspirin, DNP, progesterone, salt, caffeine, dopaminergic drugs etc have all been shown to reliably raise body temperature and relieve depression but unfortunately the study's authors lacked the intelligence (or permission) to make the link between higher body temperature and improve metabolism. However, we do, so the list of hyperthermic substances above has now officially become a list of possible anti-depressants as well.
Btw, some of the heating was done with infra-red lights, so I am wondering of those lights were not in fact red color heat lamps as that would improve metabolism even more.

Could Inducing Brief, Mild 'Fever' Help Ease Depression?

"...Temporarily raising the body temperature of people who are depressed seems to ease symptoms for up to six weeks, a small new study finds. The treatment, known as whole-body hyperthermia, essentially gives patients a mild, transient fever, the researchers explained. Similar to some antidepressant drugs, the treatment is thought to work by activating a part of the brain that produces the chemical serotonin. This brain region is less active in people with depression, the researchers explained."

"...The patients got inside the tent-like device. Infrared lights and heating coils heated their chest and legs. Once their body temperature increased, the heat was turned off and the patients cooled down for one hour."
 

Tarmander

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the treatment is thought to work by activating a part of the brain that produces the chemical serotonin. This brain region is less active in people with depression, the researchers explained."

Is this like a catch all for "we have no idea how this works?"

In reading studies, it seems like a "part of the brain," or a "certain gene," or a "novel process," are statements used that basically imply that they know exactly how something works, but in reality do not. I did not see the actual study in this article, but do you think the researchers actually have any idea on how hyperthermia eases depression?
 

aguilaroja

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...The study used whole-body heating and found that this hyperthermia resulted in strong decrease of depressive symptoms....
Btw, some of the heating was done with infra-red lights, so I am wondering of those lights were not in fact red color heat lamps as that would improve metabolism even more.

Could Inducing Brief, Mild 'Fever' Help Ease Depression?
"...The patients got inside the tent-like device. Infrared lights and heating coils heated their chest and legs. Once their body temperature increased, the heat was turned off and the patients cooled down for one hour."

Nice one.

Here is the link to the abstract:

http://archpsyc.jamanetwork.com/article.aspx?articleid=2521478

"The real hyperthermia therapy improved depression scores a week later by an average of almost 5.7 points above that produced by the sham treatment, the study found. At six weeks after treatment, the real treatment had still improved depression scores by about of 4.8 points."

As clarified by the abstract, the study applied a SINGLE session of infrared heat. My guess is that they chose one infrared session and 6 weeks of follow-up to obtain data more quickly. We don't know, for instance, if the non-responders would have done well, and responders even better with multiple infrared sessions.

Maybe this was intended as "proof of concept" for further study.

I completely agree that this and many studies of hyperthermia therapy have not tested to distinguish between (infra)red light benefits and hyperthermic heat benefits or the combination.
 

sugarbabe

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Yeah when I am struggling I take a hot bath with my heat lamp on me, I don't understand the theories on cold thermogenesis... when I get cold I feel miserable. This study seems to refute those theories.
 

Tarmander

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Yeah when I am struggling I take a hot bath with my heat lamp on me, I don't understand the theories on cold thermogenesis... when I get cold I feel miserable. This study seems to refute those theories.

It probably depends on how much cortisol you have been exposed to. The stuff seems great at first...
 

noordinary

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Btw, some of the heating was done with infra-red lights, so I am wondering of those lights were not in fact red color heat lamps as that would improve metabolism even more.
According to this article Turn Up the Heat to Turn Down Depression? Dr. Charles Raison used Heckel HT-3000 Whole body hyperthermia system. And here is the description of the heating lamps wIRA they used in the device, called hydrosun® "Skin-tolerable water filtered heat radiation (only infrared-A / no infrared-B + C; that is only deep-heat / no surface-heat)", for reference IR-A (760–1400 nm), IR-B (1400–3000 nm), and IR-C (3000 nm–1 mm).
 
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Hans

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This is interesting, because the heat probably helps to displace the PUFAs in the cell membranes with saturated fat. Cold exposure makes the cell membranes more unsaturated, so heat will do the opposite, and then increase energy production and metabolism, etc.
 

Cirion

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So why does getting hot tend to make me sleepy? Just curious. Reduction of stress hormones showing low metabolism underneath I guess?

Paradoxically enough, I have a hard time actually going to sleep when I'm too hot, when I want to, so I often make my room fairly cold. Should I not be making my room cold to sleep?
 
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