Oxygen treatments help people with depression -study

Participants were treated with oxygen-enriched air with different levels of oxygen for 7-8 hours per night over the course of a month.

 Oxygen piping and regulator on the wall of an ambulance. (photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Oxygen piping and regulator on the wall of an ambulance.
(photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)

A novel Ben-Gurion University of the Negev study has found that oxygen-enriched air treatments help those suffering from mild to moderate depression improve their symptoms.

The study, which was published in the peer-reviewed scientific journal Scientific Reports, divided 55 participants into two groups. The first group underwent treatment with oxygen-enriched air (35% oxygen) and the other with room/normal air (21% oxygen) for 7-8 hours per night over the course of a month, analyzing the results after the month-long treatment regimen.

“Increasing the fraction of oxygen in the inhaled air reduces symptoms of depression," said lead researcher Dr. Abed N. Azab of Ben-Gurion’s Department of Nursing in the Faculty of Health Sciences. "Of course, there is much more to discover. Would longer treatments be even more beneficial? Would higher oxygen concentrations better improve symptoms or not?"

Named after the founding Prime Minister of the State of Israel, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev hosts 20,000 students, 6,000 staff and faculty members on three campuses. The university is known for its contributions to global scientific research.

Ben Gurion University 370 (credit: Courtesy of Ben Gurion University)Ben Gurion University 370 (credit: Courtesy of Ben Gurion University)

Depression is a mental health disorder that affects millions worldwide every year and could lead to self-harm or even suicide. It is defined by the Mayo Clinic as suffering from a “persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities.” Symptoms may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior or self-esteem.