In this episode of humanOS Radio, Dan speaks with Jennifer Goldschmied. Jennifer has a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan, and is currently faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.
Her research explores how altering aspects of sleep can produce changes in mood and emotional regulation, particularly in those with major depression. Jennifer’s work has led her to investigate a long-recognized but poorly understood clinical paradox: Certain individuals actually experience mood improvement in response to sleep loss. You read that right - total sleep deprivation has been shown to have antidepressant effects. Remarkably, an estimated 40-60% of people with major depression may experience significant improvements in symptoms.
Of course, these benefits dissipate once the patient’s sleep is restored, which is probably why interest in this as a therapy has lagged. But Jennifer and her colleagues are starting to figure out why precisely sleep deprivation seems to improve mood, and which individuals might stand to benefit from sleep manipulation. You can imagine that gaining insight into this strange phenomenon may eventually lead to new treatments for depression and other mental disorders. To learn more about her fascinating research, and what is on the horizon for this work, check out the interview!
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