Light treatment for seasonal Winter depression in African-American vs Caucasian outpatients.

Light treatment for seasonal Winter depression in African-American vs Caucasian outpatients.

World J Psychiatry. 2015 Mar 22;5(1):138-146

Authors: Uzoma HN, Reeves GM, Langenberg P, Khabazghazvini B, Balis TG, Johnson MA, Sleemi A, Scrandis DA, Zimmerman SA, Vaswani D, Nijjar GV, Cabassa J, Lapidus M, Rohan KJ, Postolache TT

AIM: To compare adherence, response, and remission with light treatment in African-American and Caucasian patients with Seasonal Affective Disorder.
METHODS: Seventy-eight study participants, age range 18-64 (51 African-Americans and 27 Caucasians) recruited from the Greater Baltimore Metropolitan area, with diagnoses of recurrent mood disorder with seasonal pattern, and confirmed by a Structured Clinical Interview for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-IV, were enrolled in an open label study of daily bright light treatment. The trial lasted 6 wk with flexible dosing of light starting with 10000 lux bright light for 60 min daily in the morning. At the end of six weeks there were 65 completers. Three patients had Bipolar II disorder and the remainder had Major depressive disorder. Outcome measures were remission (score ≤ 8) and response (50% reduction) in symptoms on the Structured Interview Guide for the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (SIGH-SAD) as well as symptomatic improvement on SIGH-SAD and Beck Depression Inventory-II. Adherence was measured using participant daily log. Participant groups were compared using t-tests, chi square, linear and logistic regressions.
RESULTS: The study did not find any significant group difference between African-Americans and their Caucasian counterparts in adherence with light treatment as well as in symptomatic improvement. While symptomatic improvement and rate of treatment response were not different between the two groups, African-Americans, after adjustment for age, gender and adherence, achieved a significantly lower remission rate (African-Americans 46.3%; Caucasians 75%; P = 0.02).
CONCLUSION: This is the first study of light treatment in African-Americans, continuing our previous work reporting a similar frequency but a lower awareness of SAD and its treatment in African-Americans. Similar rates of adherence, symptomatic improvement and treatment response suggest that light treatment is a feasible, acceptable, and beneficial treatment for SAD in African-American patients. These results should lead to intensifying education initiatives to increase awareness of SAD and its treatment in African-American communities to increased SAD treatment engagement. In African-American vs Caucasian SAD patients a remission gap was identified, as reported before with antidepressant medications for non-seasonal depression, demanding sustained efforts to investigate and then address its causes.

PMID: 25815263 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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