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People with depression have higher body temperature, suggests study

Individuals suffering from depression may benefit from lowering their body temperatures, which are typically higher, suggests a study conducted at UC San Francisco.

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PTC News Desk: Individuals suffering from depression may benefit from lowering their body temperatures, which are typically higher, suggests a study conducted at UC San Francisco.

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People suffering from depression may have a higher body temperature as a result of impaired self-cooling, increased heat output from metabolic processes, or both, the study says.

Researchers examined data from over 20,000 international participants who wore a temperature-measuring device and self-reported their body temperatures and depression symptoms on a daily basis.

The seven-month study began in early 2020 and gathered data from 106 countries.

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The findings revealed that as the severity of depression symptoms increased, so did participants' body temperature.

The body temperature data also revealed a trend towards higher depression scores in people whose temperatures fluctuated less over a 24-hour period, but this finding was not statistically significant.

The findings shed light on how a novel depression treatment method could work, according to Ashley Mason, PhD, the study's lead author and associate professor of psychiatry at the UCSF Weill Institute for Neurosciences.

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A small number of causal studies have found that using hot tubs or saunas can help with depression, possibly by causing the body to self-cool, such as through sweating.

"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," said Mason, a clinical psychologist at the UCSF Osher Centre for Integrative Health.

"What if we can track the body temperature of people with depression to time heat-based treatments well?"

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"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 further said.

"Given the climbing rates of depression in the United States, we're excited by the possibilities of a new avenue for treatment." 

With inputs from ANI

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