Date of Award
Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review
Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant
Physician Assistant Studies
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not “Is bright light therapy effective in treating depression in adults with seasonal affective disorder?”
STUDY DESIGN: A systematic EBM review of two randomized controlled trials and one randomized crossover trial published between the years 2011 and 2015, all in English language.
DATA SOURCES: All three studies were published in peer-reviewed journals found using PubMed and selected based on relevance to the clinical question and evaluating POEMS.
OUTCOMES MEASURED: The outcomes measured were reduction in depressive symptoms and severity using the Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale and the Beck Depression Inventory Scale II.
RESULTS: Reeves et al. found that there was a statistically significant difference in reduction of depressive complaints in individuals with SAD exposed to bright light therapy compared to those exposed to dim red light with a p-value of 0.02 (J Nerv Ment Dis. 2012;200(1):51-5). Rohan et al. found that in individuals with SAD, depression severity and remission improved when exposed to light therapy, however no significant difference was seen between these individuals and those exposed to CBT, with a p-value of 0.30 for depression remission and a p-value of 0.13 for depression severity (Am J Psychiatry. 2015;172(9):862-869. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.2015.14101293). Meester et al. found that in individuals with SAD, depressive complaints decreased when exposed to standard bright light therapy, however no significant difference was seen between these individuals and those exposed to low intensity blue light, with a p-value of >0.05 (BMC Psychiatry. 2011;11:17. Published 2011 Jan 28. doi:10.1186/1471-244X-11-17).
CONCLUSION: The results of all three trials show that bright light therapy is a promising method for treating depression in adults with seasonal affective disorder, however further research is required to assess whether it is any more effective than other methods currently being used.
Graham, Kelsey K., "Is bright light therapy effective in treating depression in adults with seasonal affective disorder?" (2020). PCOM Physician Assistant Studies Student Scholarship. 544.