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Colors and Depression

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From VOA Learning English, this is the Health Report.

People may experience severe depression if they see certain colors late at night. This was the conclusion of a new study, which builds upon earlier findings. It was found that people who work or live in areas with low light levels can suffer from severe depression or clinical depression. The signs of depression include a loss of interest in all activities and low energy. They can also lead to thoughts of suicide or death. American researchers recently conducted an experiment where hamsters were exposed to different colors. Because hamsters are nocturnal (meaning they sleep during daylight and are awake at night), the researchers chose them as their choice. The animals were divided into four groups. One group of hamsters were kept in darkness during nighttime. One group was placed in front a blue light. The third group was placed in front a blue light while the fourth was in front a white light. The researchers analyzed the amount of sugary water that the hamsters consumed after four weeks. The researchers found that animals with depression drank less water. The Department of Neuroscience at Ohio State University is headed by Randy Nelson. According to Nelson, animals that sleep in white and blue light were the most depressed. Randy Nelson points out that the retina’s photosensitive cells have very little to do about eyesight. These cells transmit signals to the brain area that regulates what is known as the natural sleep-wake cycle. He claims that white light contains a lot more blue than the normal. This is why the blue and white light hamsters seemed to be less depressed than those who saw red. For VOA Learning English, I’m Laurel Bowman.

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