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Special Light-Sensing Cells in the Retina Might Explain Seasonal Affective Disorder

The winter blues is not just something people experience out of the blue. There might be a biological explanation as to why we sometimes become sad during the winter.

Two recent studies suggest the culprit is a brain circuit that connects special light-sensing cells in the retina with brain areas that affect whether you are happy or sad.
When these cells detect shorter days, they appear to use this pathway to send signals to the brain that can make a person feel glum or even depressed.

A recent research also found that a certain brain circuit above the eyes when stimulated might relieve depression.

With these studies, we may have a more nuanced understanding of the causes behind depression and other mood disorders, and as such be able to find an appropriate treatment for it.

(Image credit: Patrick Brinksma/Unsplash)


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Here in Central France people would effectively hibernate in winter and I think this is why we get so down as modern folks can't just stay in bed and only get up briefly to feed themselves and the animals.
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Since moving to SWFL, I notice I do not have the angst that I got back in CNY around March. Up there I'd be stark raving mad, almost Jack Nicholson in Shining, after the long winter with crappy weather and little sunlight. The last 4 years I worked a lot inan underground quarantine facility where I'd go to work in the dark and return home in the dark, never hardly seeing the sun. Longer daylight hours are best.
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