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Abstract

"Lead Inventor: Michael Terman

Treating Depression with Atypical Symptoms Using Negative Air Ions at High Density
It is estimated that about 10 million Americans suffer from winter depression at a fully syndromal level, with another 25 million suffering at a milder subsyndromal level which is less debilitating and may not meet diagnostic severity criteria. The hallmarks of winter depression are atypical neurovegetative symptoms: continual fatigue, increased need for sleep, increased appetite and weight gain. Patients with nonseasonal atypical depression, an even larger group, show a symptom profile similar to that of winter depression.

Both seasonal and nonseasonal depression have been treated with the broad spectrum of antidepressant drugs including the serotonergic class. By contast, this non-pharmaceutical technology provides a method for treating depression with atypical symptoms using negative air ions at a high density. Candidate mechanisms of action include serotonergic stimulation and enhanced blood oxygenation.


Depressed Patients Placed in Environment of High Density Negative Air Ions
In accordance with the technology, patients with depression are treated by placing them in an environment of high-density negative air ions (superoxide) produced by an ion generator for at least one interval of time on a daily basis over a period of 10-20 days. The high density exposure was accomplished by placing an ion generator unit in proximity to the patient's head and with the ion-emitting electrodes pointing toward the patient.

Clinical evaluation performed according to accepted psychiatric evaluation techniques determined that there was a clinical remission of depressive and neurovegetative symptoms in a statistically significant number of patients compared with a low-density ion control.


Applications:
The technology provides a novel therapeutic method for treating depressive and neurovegetative disorders, such as hypersomnia, hyperphagia, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), nonseasonal atypical depression, and fatigue.


Advantages:
The treatment is efficient in brief treatment home-treatment sessions; there is no physical confinement for patients.
The treatment is a non-pharmacologic environmental manipulation with apparently negligible side-effects.


Patent Status: Issued Patent (US 5,533,527)

Licensing Status: Available for Licensing and Sponsored Research Support

Publications:
- Am J Psychiatry. 2006; 163(12):2126-33.
- Psychol Med. 2005; 35(7):945-55.
- J Altern Complement Med. 1995; 1(1):87-92.


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Keywords

Licensing Contact

The responsible technology licensing officer is Sara Gusik, but for more information on this technology, please contact techtransfer@columbia.edu

Web Links

Name Description Open Link
USPTO 5,533,527 click here to view

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