Higher Body Temperatures Linked to More Severe Depression Symptoms, Study Finds, US


Updated: 2:41 PM, Mon February 12, 2024

In a ground-breaking study conducted by researchers, it has been discovered that individuals diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) often have higher body temperatures. This finding suggests potential treatments that could help manage this aspect and potentially ease the challenging symptoms associated with depression.

Researchers from the University of California San Francisco (UCSF) examined data collected from over 20,000 individuals across a span of seven months and from 106 different countries. By analyzing self-reported temperature data from 20,863 individuals and wearable sensor data from 21,064 people, they gathered a total of 559,664 body temperature readings. Each participant provided an average of 27 temperature readings per day.

Concurrently, mental health assessments were carried out monthly using a widely used depression measure known as the Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS), which helps gauge the severity of depression symptoms.

According to Ashley Mason, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of psychiatry at UC, this research is the largest of its kind to explore the connection between body temperature and depressive symptoms across a diverse sample.

Smaller sample sizes and controlled environments have limited previous studies. Analyzing real-world data is crucial for understanding how body temperature relates to MDD and for developing new treatment approaches.

The study revealed that higher body temperatures were associated with more severe depression symptoms, regardless of factors such as age and gender. Additionally, an increase in symptom severity corresponded to higher body temperatures. Although there was a trend suggesting that higher depression scores were linked to less fluctuation in temperature over 24 hours, this finding was not statistically significant.

Potential treatments might involve raising body temperature, such as through activities like hot yoga and sauna sessions, which could trigger the body’s cooling mechanisms.

Despite the increasing rates of depression globally, effective treatment remains complex due to its multifactorial nature. While the exact relationship between body temperature and depression is still unclear, the researchers believe their findings support further exploration of innovative thermoregulatory therapies.

The study, published in the journal Scientific Reports, underscores the importance of understanding the biological mechanisms underlying depression and elevated body temperature, paving the way for more targeted treatments in the future.

Ashley Mason expressed enthusiasm about the potential of these findings, particularly in light of the rising rates of depression in the United States.

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Rohan Desai
Rohan Desai
Rohan Desai is a health-conscious author at The Reportify who keeps you informed about important topics related to health and wellness. With a focus on promoting well-being, Rohan shares valuable insights, tips, and news in the Health category. He can be reached at rohan@thereportify.com for any inquiries or further information.

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