The Center for Environmental Therapeutics is 501(c)(3) nonprofit international organization of clinicians and scientists dedicated to promoting research and applications of chronotherapeutics for depression, sleep disorders, daytime fatigue, and associated illnesses.
Formed in 1994, the Center is most widely known for its two popular websites, which provide educational materials and treatment guidance for patients and the consumer public (www.cet.org) and doctors and mental health professionals (www.chronotherapeutics.org). The consumer site hosts an Ask the Doctor Forum, with hundreds of questions from the public, and offers free self-assessment tools in 14 languages. The doctors' site hosts the Chronotherapeutics Forum, where medical professionals discuss treatment strategy and future clinical applications.
In 2005, CET formed the Chronotherapeutics Consultants group, which offers guidance to clinicians and hospitals that are forming new programs based on circadian rhythm and sleep management. Research institutes and clinics in this circle include Chicago Psychiatry Associates, Columbia University Medical Center (New York), Ospedale San Raffaele (Milan), Frederiksborg General Hospital (Copenhagen), Psychiatric University Clinics Basel, and University of California – Irvine.
In 2009, CET published the first clinical treatment manual in this field, Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders (Basel, Karger), with a grant from the Velux Foundation.
In 2010, CET formed an alliance of chronotherapy specialists, architects and mechanical and electrical engineers to design and produce next-generation treatment apparatus for installation in hospitals, homes, schools and the work place.
CET's educational and research programs are funded primarily by the sale of treatment apparatus at its online store, and project-specific grants. The Board of Directors and Medical/Scientific Advisory Board dedicate their effort as volunteers.
Center for Environmental Therapeutics
CH - 8032 Zürich
Dr. Michael Terman
President of CET, was graduated from Columbia University and received his doctoral degree in physiological psychology from Brown University in 1968. He is Professor of Clinical Psychology in Psychiatry at Columbia, Research Scientist VI at the New York State Psychiatric Institute (NYSPI), and Director of the Center for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
For the first part of his career, Michael concentrated on laboratory studies of biological rhythms and sensory perception in animals, especially their reactions to daily cycles of light and darkness. In the early 1980's, when such effects were first demonstrated in humans, he turned in a clinical direction, with studies of the antidepressant effects of light therapy, sponsored by the National Institute of Mental Health. He joined the faculty of Columbia's College of Physicians and Surgeons and NYSPI, where he established the Clinical Chronobiology and Winter Depression Programs, in which several hundred patients have participated in treatment trials and studies of physiological responses.
This work led to a set of new non-drug therapies including 10,000 lux light, dawn/dusk simulation and high-density negative air ionization. In 1988, he was a co-founder with Anna Wirz-Justice of the Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms (SLTBR), which he served as President (1991-93). With Douglas Holmes, Gustave Manasse and Cynthia Neely, he founded CET in 1994.
Michael chaired the Task Force on Light Treatment for Sleep Disorders (American Academy of Sleep Medicine and SLTBR), and currently serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Biological Rhythms. In a 35+ year collaboration with his wife, Dr. Jiuan Su, the Terman lab has produced more than 200 scientific publications.
Dr. Anna Wirz-Justice
Anna Wirz-Justice is emeritus Professor and Research Fellow at the Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel.
She received a Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from University College London. Anna initially worked on circadian rhythms in animals and the effects of psychiatric medications on neurotransmitter receptor and rest-activity rhythms. The Basel clinic was one of the first to extensively study the antidepressant effects of sleep deprivation in the early '70s, immediately after Burkhard Pflug's pioneering discovery. During a fellowship at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health, she and Thomas Wehr, M.D. carried out the first sleep phase advance experiment in a bipolar patient. Anna introduced light therapy to Europe, followed up with more than 20 years of research on seasonal affective disorder and light therapy. In the constant routine sleep laboratory – where the subject stays awake in bed for more than a day – together with Kurt Kräuchi and Christian Cajochen, the focus has been on thermophysiology (warm feet to fall asleep) and the sleep and waking EEG in young and older subjects. Actimetry – automated recording of body movement – in psychiatric patients yields fascinating insights into circadian dysregulation in a wide variety of disorders that might be amenable to improvement with light therapy.
Anna is a former president of the Society for Light Treatment and Biological Rhythms. A prestigious Anna-Monika-Prize with Thomas Wehr recognised their seminal work in the chronobiology of depressive illness. In 2002, she received the Scholar's Prize of the City of Basel, awarded for outstanding scientific career achievement.
In a thematically relevant avocation, she has interacted with architects to enhance the circadian impact of indoor lighting. In 2002 she was a consultant to Philippe Rahm and Jean-Gilles Décosterd in creating their light room in the Swiss Pavillion at the Venice Bienniale, Physiological Architecture.
Anna is director of CET's Chronotherapeutics Consultants, formed in 2004 to advise hospital psychiatrists on the implementation of light and wake therapies as adjuncts to drug treatment of major depression. Most recently, she lead a team including Francesco Benedetti and Michael Terman to the field's first treatment manual for clinicians, Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders.
Dr. Francesco Benedetti
Francesco Benedetti MD (University of Modena, 1991) is Head of the Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences research group at the San Raffaele Hospital in Milano, and contract professor of Psychiatry and of General Psychopathology at the University Vita-Salute San Raffaele.
His clinical research group gathers researchers working at the interface between neuroscience and behavioral disorders. Areas of expertise encompass clinical psychobiology, brain imaging, genetics of response to psychiatric treatments, pharmacology, neuropsychology, neurophysiology, and and genetic correlates of psychopathological conditions.
In the last 15 years he and his group have developed clinical chronotherapeutics of mood disorders into a practicable everyday method for the psychiatric ward, particularly focusing on bipolar disorder. Beginning with sleep deprivation, they added sleep phase advance, light therapy, different medications to see if the rapid response could be maintained. They found that the same gene polymorphisms that hinder clinical response to antidepressants affect the response to chronotherapeutics in a similar fashion. At the functional MRI level, those selective regions of the brain that are modified by improvement on antidepressants also are the ones involved in chronotherapeutic response. These multiple approaches provide an important scientific database to document efficacy and mechanisms of action of non-pharmacological antidepressant methods.
Francesco is a member of CET's Chronotherapeutics Consultants, and was the major clinical expert in writing our treatment manual, Chronotherapeutics for Affective Disorders.