|How Sunlight Can Improve Your Mental Health|
The association between darkness and depression is well known. Now a new study reveals the profound changes that light deprivation causes in your brain.
Neuroscientists kept rats in the dark for six weeks. The animals not only exhibited depressive behavior but also suffered damage in brain regions known to be underactive in humans during depression.
Further, neurons that produce norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, which are common neurotransmitters involved in emotion, pleasure and cognition, were observed in the process of dying. This neuronal death may be the mechanism underlying the darkness-related blues of seasonal affective disorder.
The dark-induced effects may stem from a disruption of the body’s clock. When an organism’s circadian system is not receiving normal light, that in turn might lead to changes in brain systems that regulate mood, the lead researcher said.