Light therapy effective for depression: study

A new study from the University of British Columbia has found light therapy to be effective in treating non-seasonal depression.

“These results are very exciting because light therapy is inexpensive, easy to access and use and comes with few side effects,” says Dr. Raymond Lam in a statement, a UBC professor and psychiatrist at the Djavad Mowafaghian Centre for Brain Health.

It is the first placebo-controlled trial that shows light therapy to treat depression not brought on by seasonal affective disorder – a type of depression associated with late autumn and winter caused by a lack of light.

Lam and his colleagues followed 122 patients and evaluated whether light therapy improved their mood when it was used both with and without the commonly prescribed antidepressant fluoxetine.

The research involved light therapy exposure with a fluorescent light box for 30 minutes soon after waking up every day for two months.

A group of participants were given placebo pills and devices instead of real therapies. Researchers found those taking light therapy had improved mood and provided the most benefits taken alongside antidepressants.

Depression is one of the leading causes of disability with one in 20 people suffering from the ailment worldwide. Medications alone are effective but only in about 60 per cent of cases, according to researchers.

Lam says, “it’s important to find new treatments because our current therapies don’t work for everyone. Our findings should help to improve the lives of people with depression.”

Study says envy is the main motivator behind Facebook posts

A study by the University of British Columbia says jealousy and self-importance drives Facebook users to portray their best selves through their posts.

Researchers say this cycle of comparison with others leads to a decrease in metal well-being.

“Social media participation has been linked to depression, anxiety and narcissistic behaviour, but the reasons haven’t been well-explained,” says Sauder School of Business Professor Izak Benbasat. “We found envy to be the missing link.”

According to Benbasat, travel photos cause the most Facebook envy, pushing friends to posts their best pictures. He says the posts aren’t fueled by the need to compete, but rather the need to keep up appearances.

Benbasat and his team of collaborators from the Sauder School of Business led the study. The team surveyed about 1,000 Facebook users from a German university then asked the students a series of questions about their Facebook habits – cross-referencing their responses with the feelings they reported when using the site.

Image courtesy of: Flickr

“Sharing pictures and stories about the highlights of your life – that’s so much of what Facebook is for, so you can’t take that away… but I think it’s important for people to know what impact it can have on their well-being,” says Benbasat.

Thousands attend climate march in downtown Vancouver

Thousands attended the Global Climate March in Vancouver filling the streets with messages to world leaders who have arrived in Paris.

The UN climate summit kicks off on Monday where discussions on national limits of greenhouse gas emissions will arise.

People began gathering in the early afternoon in front of the Vancouver Art Gallery then marched throughout the downtown core. Climate change activists held protests across many cities.

Check out how some people described the events on Twitter:

 

 

IdeasXChange Hub: Social Sustainability Workshop (2015)

Note: From January until June 2015, our events were promoted under “Values in Perspective”. We have since changed our name to IdeasXChange.

On February 24, 2015, IdeasXChange launched its sustainability workshop series with over 30 participants and five well-respected community leaders as panelists. The theme of discussion: social sustainability.

About 30 participants including UBC students and community members gathered at the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre to hear about what social sustainability means to some of Vancouver’s community leaders.

Patti Bacchus – Vancouver School Board Trustee. One of the five panelists that joined IdeasXChange’s workshop.

But what is social sustainability?

One of the most well-known definitions includes environmental, economic and social sustainability.

The concept of “social sustainability” encompasses topics such as:

Social equity – a state in which all members of a group or society have the same status in certain areas, including civil rights, freedom of speech and property rights among others.

Community development – a process where members of a community come together to take action and generate solutions to common problems.

Social capital – the expected economic or collective benefits from the preferential treatment and cooperation between people and groups.

Human rights – rights that are believed to belong justifiably to every person.

Labour rights – a group of legal rights relating to labour relations between workers and employers.

Panel Discussion: From addressing poverty to finding solutions

Five panelists addressed social sustainability from different perspectives – from working side-by-side with Vancouver’s poor population, to finding solutions through social enterprises and advocating for greater access to education and legal representation.

The panelists included:

Jeff Baergen – community and engagement director at the UGM – a charity organization in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.

Tara Taylor – Manager at Potluck Catering and Recipes for success – a social enterprise that provides opportunities for those who face employment barriers

Marcia Nozick – CEO of EMBERS – a social enterprise that offers economic and employment opportunities to individuals and advice for companies

Cherie Payne – a former Vancouver School Board member and advocacy lawyer

Patti Bacchus – an elected Vancouver School Board Trustee and active player in the field of local education

For information on our other workshops follow this link.