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Feeling Low? Practicing Ancient Chinese Martial Art Tai Chi will reduce Depression

Tai Chi, which has been used for more than 1,000 years, combines deep breathing and slow and gentle movements

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Ancient Chinese Martial Art Tai Chi. Twitter

New York, May 28, 2017: Practicing Tai Chi — a form of ancient Chinese martial art — for 12-weeks may significantly reduce symptoms of depression such as the persistent feeling of sadness or loss, a study showed.

Tai Chi, which has been used for more than 1,000 years, combines deep breathing and slow and gentle movements.

It is generally suitable for people of any level of physical fitness.

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“While some previous studies have suggested that tai chi may be useful in treating anxiety and depression, most have used it as a supplement to treatment for others medical conditions, rather than patients with depression,” said Albert Yeung from Massachusetts General Hospital.

Tai Chi can be particularly effective for patients who avoid conventional psychiatric treatment, the researchers said.

For the study, published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, the team recruited 50 participants through advertisements offering tai chi for stress reduction.

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Of these 17 were in the tai chi group, 14 in the education group that included discussions on stress, mental health and depression and 19 in the a passive control, wait-list group.

The 12-week assessments showed that the tai chi group had significantly greater improvement in depression symptoms than did members of either control group.

Earlier this year, China nominated Tai Chi, for inclusion in the Unesco List of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Previous studies have found that Tai Chi could better help patients suffering from five painful conditions — back pain, osteoarthritis, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and severe headaches and migraine. (IANS)

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Childhood Maltreatment Strongest Risk Factor for Depression in Adulthood: Lancet

The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome

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Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression. Pixabay

Facing trauma in childhood can significantly change the structure of the brain, which may result in severe depression which could even be recurrent in adulthood, say researchers.

The results from MRI scan images suggest that both childhood maltreatment and recurring depression are associated with similar reductions in the surface area of the insular cortex, part of the brain that regulates emotion and self-awareness.

This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal, which found childhood maltreatment one of the strongest risk factors for major depression in adulthood.

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Depression is among the leading causes of disability in the U.S. and is being closely monitored by health authorities amid rising suicides nationwide. Pixabay

“Given the impact of the insular cortex on brain functions such as emotional awareness, it’s possible that the changes we saw make patients less responsive to conventional treatments,” said lead researcher Nils Opel from the University of Munster in Germany.

The study included 110 patients aged 18 to 60 years. Of the 75 patients who experienced a relapse, 48 had experienced one additional episode, seven reported two episodes, and six experienced three episodes.

Fourteen had a remission period of less than two months and could therefore be regarded as having chronic depression.

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This reduction in the brain could make a future relapse more likely, said the study, published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal. Pixabay

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The findings are to develop or improve risk-adapted interventions for people susceptible to a worse long-term clinical outcome.

Future psychiatric research should therefore explore how the findings could be translated into special attention, care and treatment that could improve patient outcomes, the study noted. (IANS)