Exercise Treatment for Major Depression: Maintenance of Therapeutic Benefit at 10 Months

Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, United States
Psychosomatic Medicine (Impact Factor: 3.47). 09/2000; 62(5):633-8. DOI: 10.1097/00006842-200009000-00006
Source: PubMed


The purpose of this study was to assess the status of 156 adult volunteers with major depressive disorder (MDD) 6 months after completion of a study in which they were randomly assigned to a 4-month course of aerobic exercise, sertraline therapy, or a combination of exercise and sertraline.
The presence and severity of depression were assessed by clinical interview using the Diagnostic Interview Schedule and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HRSD) and by self-report using the Beck Depression Inventory. Assessments were performed at baseline, after 4 months of treatment, and 6 months after treatment was concluded (ie, after 10 months).
After 4 months patients in all three groups exhibited significant improvement; the proportion of remitted participants (ie, those who no longer met diagnostic criteria for MDD and had an HRSD score <8) was comparable across the three treatment conditions. After 10 months, however, remitted subjects in the exercise group had significantly lower relapse rates (p = .01) than subjects in the medication group. Exercising on one's own during the follow-up period was associated with a reduced probability of depression diagnosis at the end of that period (odds ratio = 0.49, p = .0009).
Among individuals with MDD, exercise therapy is feasible and is associated with significant therapeutic benefit, especially if exercise is continued over time.

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Available from: James Blumenthal, Oct 28, 2015
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    • "However, there is evidence that this positive relationship is more robust in patients with a diagnosis of major depression (Conn, 2010). A program of supervised exercise in clinically depressed participants may have the same beneficial effects as psychotropic medication, with a better prognosis at a 6 months follow-up assessment (Blumenthal et al., 1999; Babyak et al., 2000). There is also evidence that mood may improve rapidly after only a single session of exercise, as compared to psychotropic medication, for which 40% of patients fail to respond, even after fourth-line therapy (Wade et al., 2014). "
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    ABSTRACT: Patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI) usually have mood and anxiety symptoms secondary to their brain injury. Exercise may be a cost-effective intervention for the regulation of the affective responses of this population. However, there are no studies evaluating the effects of exercise or the optimal intensity of exercise for this clinical group. Twelve male patients with moderate or severe TBI [mean age of 31.83 and SD of 9.53] and 12 age- and gender-matched healthy volunteers [mean age of 30.58 and SD of 9.53] participated in two sessions of exercise of high and moderate-intensity. Anxiety and mood was evaluated, and subjective assessment of experience pre- and post-exercise was assessed. A mixed between and within-subjects general linear model (GLM) analysis was conducted to compare groups [TBI, control] over condition [baseline, session 1, session 2] allowing for group by condition interaction to be determined. Planned comparisons were also conducted to test study hypotheses. Although no group by condition interaction was observed, planned comparisons indicated that baseline differences between patients and controls in anxiety (Cohens' d = 1.80), tension (d = 1.31), depression (d = 1.18), anger (d = 1.08), confusion (d = 1.70), psychological distress (d = 1.28), and physical symptoms (d = 1.42) disappear after one session of exercise, independently of the intensity of exercise. A single-section of exercise, regardless of exercise intensity, had a positive effect on the affective responses of patients with TBI both by increasing positive valence feelings and decreasing negative ones. Exercise can be an easily accessible intervention that may alleviate depressive symptoms related to brain injury.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2015 · Frontiers in Psychology
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    • "When it comes to mental health, the benefits of exercise cannot be overemphasized. A clinical study conducted by Babyak et al. [3] has revealed that treating depression with exercise was just as effective as medication, and vice versa. According to center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 1 , regular physical activity helps improve the overall health and fitness, and reduces the risk for many chronic diseases [4]. "

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    • "Exercise participation is associated with improvements in physical (Berlin & Colditz, 1990; Franco et al., 2005; Garber et al., 2011; Helmrich et al., 1991; Hu et al., 2004; Lawlor & Hopker, 2001; Mead et al., 2009; Penedo & Dahn, 2005) and mental health outcomes among non-clinical and clinical samples (Armstrong & Edwards, 2003; Babyak et al., 2000; Bosscher, 1993; DiLorenzo et al., 1999; Doyne et al., 1987; Dunn et al., 2005; Goodwin, 2003; McNeil et al., 1991; Mead et al., 2009; Pinchasov et al., 2000; Sexton et al., 1989; Singh et al., 1997; Veale et al., 1992). "
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    ABSTRACT: Few studies have examined exercise as a substance use disorder treatment. This pilot study investigated the feasibility and acceptability of an exercise intervention comprising the Wii Fit PlusTM and of a time-and-attention sedentary control comprising WiiTM videogames. We also explored their impact on physical activity levels, substance use, and psychological wellness. Twenty-nine methadone-maintained patients enrolled in an 8-week trial were randomly assigned to either Active Game Play (Wii Fit PlusTM videogames involving physical exertion) or Sedentary Game Play (WiiTM videogames played while sitting). Participants had high satisfaction and study completion rates. Active Game Play participants reported greater physical activity outside the intervention than Sedentary Game Play participants despite no such differences at baseline. Substance use decreased and stress and optimism improved in both conditions. Active Game Play is a feasible and acceptable exercise intervention, and Sedentary Game Play is a promising time-and-attention control. Further investigations of these interventions are warranted.
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