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Sunny disposition
02-20-2006
by Randall C. Willis  |  Email the author
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As a Canadian, acclimatized to a wide variety of weather conditions, I must admit that I had always thought that seasonal effective disorder (SAD) was largely a myth, propagated by people who just didn't have the fortitude to get off the couch in the cold winter months. I have learned, however, that I may have been a little hasty in judgement.
 
Over the last couple of months, a family member born in the southern United States but living in Canada has been experimenting with a light box designed to fight the symptoms of SAD. Providing a focused spectrum of intense white light, the box is purported to trigger the metabolic pathways associated with summer sunlight and effectively trick the body into believing that it is enjoying the benefits, whatever they may be, of a summer's day.
 
Without having looked into the scientific literature behind this remedy, I must admit that the impact of the light box has been dramatic, with significant improvement in mood and general sense of well-being.
 
As I write this commentary, I too am undergoing a type of treatment for SAD, although mine takes a more natural form. After many months of planning, my wife and I have finally managed to take a well-earned vacation in Hawai'i, and as with the light box, the impact has been impressive. Aside from the natural impact of not working (despite this communication), the experience of prolonged and intense sun exposure (taking all proper precautions) are amazingly refreshing and my disposition has improved dramatically.
 
The one negative side effect of such a sunny disposition, however, is that I have paid little attention to the pharmaceutical industry (focusing instead on Olympic hockey) and have nary a burr under my saddle about which to make comment. So, in lieu of my normal rancor, I offer you all a hearty "Aloha" and highly recommend you all try to wrangle a trip to Pittcon in March or some other conference in a southern clime that will allow you the opportunity to enjoy a little sun.

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