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Longer Daylight Hours Induce SAD Effect in Rats

While humans often find themselves experiencing the “winter blues” during seasons with shorter days, scientists have found that the opposite is true for rats.

A new study by biologists at the University of California at San Diego has revealed that rats that are exposed to less light during the day are less likely to be anxious.

When exposed to more light during the day, the rats tended to show more signs of depression and anxiety. The research showed that their brains created a different chemical code that made them more or less stressed based on light exposure. The study suggests that changes in the day-night cycle can change neurotransmitters in the brain.

The study has implications for human application because it showed that the mammalian brain is more malleable or subject to external influences than previously thought.

This could have an impact on the development of new treatments for disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, which is caused by a lack of cells that produce the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.

Source:http://biology.ucsd.edu/news/article_042513.html