Treatment of depression with hyperthermia
Scientists have found that sessions of hyperthermia (elevated temperature) throughout the body eliminate the severity of symptoms of depression. Hyperthermia is a fast-acting, safe, long-acting antidepressant. In hyperthermia, sensations of warmth affect the activity of neurons in the cerebral cortex. Warming up the skin to 41 ° C leads to the activation of the frontal cerebral cortex, ventral striatum , anterior cone-shaped cerebral cortex. The degree of cortical activation is related to the degree of pleasant sensations.
In patients with depression, there are disturbances in thermoregulation, manifested by an increased body temperature and a decrease in sweat production. These symptoms are relieved after treatment with hyperthermia.
The data on the positive effect of heat do not yet make it possible to distinguish the biological effects of hyperthermia from the response to an attractive procedure (placebo effect). But CW Janssen et al found that a one-segmental increase in whole body temperature had a large antidepressant effect, which manifested itself within 6 weeks.