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Research Demonstrates The Connection Between Depression And Body Temperature



Research Demonstrates The Connection Between Depression And Body Temperature

According to a new study from the University of California, San Francisco (US), individuals who are depressed tend to have higher body temperatures, which raises the possibility that reducing body temperatures could improve mental health.

It’s unclear from the research—which was published in Scientific Reports—if depression raises body temperature or vice versa. It’s also unclear if the higher body temperature observed in sad people results from an increased production of heat from metabolic processes, a diminished capacity for self-cooling, or a combination of the two.

Researchers looked at data from more than 20,000 volunteers worldwide who, while wearing a body temperature sensor, self-reported their daily body temperatures and depressed symptoms. Initial data for the seven-month study, which started in early 2020, came from 106 nations.

The study’s lead author, Ashley Mason, PhD, an associate professor of psychiatry at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences, said that the findings shed light on the mechanisms behind a novel approach to depression therapy. A limited number of studies have demonstrated a causal relationship between hot tubs and saunas and reduced depression. It could be brought on, for example, by sweating, which causes the body to begin its own cooling process.

Mason continued, “Ironically, heating people up actually can lead to rebound body temperature lowering that lasts longer than simply cooling people down directly, as through an ice bath.” “What if we can track people with depression’s body temperature to effectively time heat-based treatments?” he continued.

“To our knowledge, this is the largest study to date to examine the association between body temperature – assessed using both self-report methods and wearable sensors – and depressive symptoms in a geographically broad sample,” Mason stated.


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