Project

Rumination: Mechanism of the antidepressant effect of exercise? - Development of a decoder

Goal: Evidence suggest exercise as an effective treatment for depressive patients. Different meta-analytic results show that exercise leads to medium to large effects on depressive symptoms. Even though effects of exercise on depression show good evidence, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Rumination is one potential mechanism, that has been reported repeatedly and is characterized as “a mode of responding to distress that involves repetitively and passively focusing on symptoms of distress and the possible causes and consequences of these symptoms” (Nolen-Hoeksema, Wisco, & Lyubomirsky, 2008). Evidence, that exercise is beneficial for rumination itself is lacking, because, on the one hand, there are only a few studies to date and, on the other hand, these studies show methodological limitations. As a result, the first goal of our project is to examine, whether exercise can affect rumination within depressed patients and thus be the underlying mechanism of the antidepressant effect of exercise. Newer research also examined neurophysiological correlates of rumination and found that rumination is associated with specific patterns of activation, for example in the PFC. Therefore, the second goal of our study is to use the neurophysiological patterns of rumination to analyse the impact of exercise on rumination. To establish a neurophysiological indicator of ongoing (“state”) rumination, we develop decoding models which decode rumination within depressed patients from neurophysiological EEG and fNIRS data patterns. These decoders are used, to predict rumination after exercise.

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Jana Welkerling
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Evidence suggest exercise as an effective treatment for depressive patients. Different meta-analytic results show that exercise leads to medium to large effects on depressive symptoms. Even though effects of exercise on depression show good evidence, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood. Rumination is one potential mechanism, that has been reported repeatedly and is characterized as “a mode of responding to distress that involves repetitively and passively focusing on symptoms of distress and the possible causes and consequences of these symptoms” (Nolen-Hoeksema, Wisco, & Lyubomirsky, 2008). Evidence, that exercise is beneficial for rumination itself is lacking, because, on the one hand, there are only a few studies to date and, on the other hand, these studies show methodological limitations. As a result, the first goal of our project is to examine, whether exercise can affect rumination within depressed patients and thus be the underlying mechanism of the antidepressant effect of exercise. Newer research also examined neurophysiological correlates of rumination and found that rumination is associated with specific patterns of activation, for example in the PFC. Therefore, the second goal of our study is to use the neurophysiological patterns of rumination to analyse the impact of exercise on rumination. To establish a neurophysiological indicator of ongoing (“state”) rumination, we develop decoding models which decode rumination within depressed patients from neurophysiological EEG and fNIRS data patterns. These decoders are used, to predict rumination after exercise.