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Effects of hormones on the body: Melatonin and sleep

Nick Borisenko

on 27 January 2013

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Transcript of Psychology

Psychology Learning Outcomes Using one example, explain functions of hormones on human behavior: Melatonin and Sleep Research By:Nick Borisenko Conducted by David H. Avery in 1993. The experiment was conducted to see how different dawn light intensities affected patients diagnosed with S.A.D. - Seasonal Affective Disorder. The study used 3 dawn light simulations, and experimented on patients not being treated with other medication. Experimental Group 1 Bright light therapy (10,000 lux) from 6:00-6:30 a.m. A light box was placed on a stand and positioned toward the subject. Experimental Group 2 Dawn simulation (250 lux) from 4:30-6:00 a.m. The light intensity gradually increased during this time, while the patient was still asleep. This experimental group mimicked a natural dawn light pattern. Control (Placebo) Group Dim red light (0.5 lux) from 4:30-6:00 a.m. Experimental Groups Procedure 1) For the first 2 weeks, the participants were told only to sleep between the hours of 9:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. and to keep a log of their sleep sessions. The first week was a baseline week, in which no light treatment was given. 2) In the second week, the patients were assigned to one of three experimental groups stated earlier. They were to remain testing in this group for the next 6 weeks. S.A.D. - a condition in which a person suffers from a type of depression at a certain time of the year (most common in the winter and fall seasons, due to the shorter daylight times) Also known as "winter blues", "winter depression", and "hibernation reaction". Melatonin - a hormone that helps regulate the daily circadian rhythms in mammals. It can also act as a neurotransmitter. Known as the "sleep hormone". Aim of the Research To see the effects of dawn light treatment for a S.A.D. patient. The research centered around altering the levels of melatonin in the patients' brain through light simulations, which would in theory help treat the Seasonal Affective Disorder of patients. Participants 95 Participants : All were S.A.D. patients free of psychotropic medication for at least 1 month and none had tried either bright light therapy or dawn simulation. None had any major medical or other psychiatric conditions based on medical history, physical examinations and blood tests. Patients were recruited through advertisement, referral from physicians, and media exposure over four fall-winter periods. Patients were evaluated to confirm participant criteria. 3) Special fixtures were placed on walls so that the light hit the subject's eyelids no matter which way he faces while sleeping. 4) At the end of each week, subjects were told to report to the clinic for assessments, where they were rated by experienced, board-certified psychiatrists who were blind to the treatment assigned. 5) If the subjects visited sunny locations, experienced a shift in their work schedule not allowing proper protocol for the experiment, or had severe illness, they were excluded from the experiment. RESULTS - Five subjects in the placebo condition dropped out due to lack of clinical response.
- One subject from the placebo group and two subjects from the bright light group dropped out due to a side effect.
- One subject dropped out due to inconvenience.
- The dawn treatment group showed significantly greater remissions of S.A.D. compared to the other groups (69% greater chance of remission compared to bright light group and 60% compared to the placebo group).
- The experiment showed a correlation between dawn light and remission of S.A.D. symptoms. This correlation suggested that melatonin was the controlling factor. Evaluation of the Experiment - The researchers could not have confirmed accurate executions of the procedure other than what the subject told them.

- Possible side effects were not addressed to the subjects before the experiment (3 dropped out due to side effects - ethical problem. Explain: give a detailed account including reasons and causes. Limitations Strengths - The light simulators were excellent in recreating realistic light exposure (daylight and dawn light).

- The subjects were free of any other major medical conditions that would have altered the results of the experiment. Tutorial Intro Paragraph: - Use research question in opening statement : ex. "Melatonin is a hormone found in mammals that may cause drastic changes in human behavior."
- Give a description of melatonin and what its role is in the body.
- State S.A.D. as a condition related to melatonin and give a description of S.A.D. and how why melatonin is the cause.
- Give researcher's name and year of study. 1st Body Paragraph: - Give a brief explanation of the study
- State experimental groups
- Briefly describe procedure
- Describe participant recruiting method and qualifications 2nd Body Paragraph: - Give results of the experiment and significance of the results
- Give possible limitations and strengths Conclusion: - Briefly summarize the study and how the S.A.D. was treated.
- Concluding statement that supports research question. to write the essay?
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