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New BGU Study: Oxygen When Sleeping Eases Depression

New BGU Study: Oxygen When Sleeping Eases Depression

December 13, 2021

Research News

The Times of Israel — Breathing high rates of oxygen while sleeping can significantly reduce depression, a preliminary Israeli study has suggested.

Researchers from Ben Gurion University’s Faculty of Health Sciences recruited 55 depressed adults and got them to breathe from special tubes as they slept, every night for a month. Around half received regular air, which contains 21 percent oxygen, while the others received air with 35% oxygen content.

A graph showing that trial participants who received extra oxygen, represented by the line that falls, had lower scores in a depression assessment system, than the control group, as the experiment progressed. (Ben Gurion University)

“Among patients in the control group, very few achieved even minimal improvement in symptoms of depression, but in the other group, 30% to 40% made notable improvements,” Dr. Abed N. Azab, the lead researcher in the peer-reviewed study, told The Times of Israel.

At the start of the month-long experiment, participants averaged 15 on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, classified as moderate depression. Scores among the control group hardly changed during the experiment, but the average score among those who received oxygen steadily dropped, ending at around 10, which reflects a jump from moderate to mild depression.

Azab said his team doesn’t know how the oxygen impacts symptoms of depression, but is hoping to answer that question through further research, and is also planning a larger-scale study to further explore the potential of oxygen.

Read more in The Times of Israel >>