Immunology: Where Intuition Goes to Die?

Whether in sweat lodges, hot springs, or baths, heat has been used for ages as a healing modality. Joining ongoing research, Research Design Associates scientists have confirmed the wisdom of these ancient practices. In a randomized clinical trial, we have found that a single session of whole-body hyperthermia, raising body temperature, significantly reduced depressive symptoms. These results led us to our current research trying to answer the difficult question: What is the physiological mechanism for the immediate immune response associated with the decrease in depression?

The pilot study for this line of work was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and has led to multiple ongoing research efforts.

Janssen, C.W., Lowry, C.A., Mehl, M.R., Allen, J.J.B., Kelly, K.L., Gartner, D.E., Medrano, A., Begay, T.K., Rentscher K., White J.J., Friedman A., Roberts, L.J., Robbins, M.L., Hanusch, K., Cole, S.P., Raison, C.L.(2016). Whole-body hyperthermia for the treatment of major depressive disorder: A randomized clinical trial. Journal of the American Medical Association: Psychiatry, 73(8), 789-795.

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