Friday April 27, 2018

Mindfulness meditation may lower major depression risk

The researchers recruited adult patients aged 18 and above with sub-threshold depression from public primary care clinics and randomly assigned them to a BAM intervention group

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A new study suggests meditation can reduce stress and anxiety. VOA
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  • Mindfulness meditation may reduce depression risk
  • It can also help in curing the depression
  • Mediation has several other benefits as well

Mindfulness meditation training may improve depression symptoms and reduce the incidence of major depression, a new study suggests.

Patients with clinically significant symptoms of depression who do not meet the criteria for major depressive disorder or dysthymic disorder are considered to have sub-threshold depression.

Practice of yoga is believed to heighten the spirit and the body.
Mindfulness meditation can reduce the risk of depression. Wikimedia Commons

According to the researchers from The Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care in Hong Kong, sub-threshold depression can cause functional impairment and considerable economic costs, and it is a strong risk factor for developing major depressive disorder.

The study, published in the journal Annals of Family Medicine, undertook a randomised controlled trial to assess the efficacy of group-based behavioural activation with mindfulness (BAM) for treating sub-threshold depression.

Also Read: Online intervention helps teenage moms deal with depression

The researchers recruited adult patients aged 18 and above with sub-threshold depression from public primary care clinics and randomly assigned them to a BAM intervention group or a usual care group.

They randomly allocated 115 patients to the BAM intervention and 116 patients to usual care. The BAM group was provided with eight two-hour weekly BAM sessions by trained allied health care workers. Patients in the usual care group received usual medical care with no additional psychological interventions.

The primary outcome was depressive symptoms measured by the Beck Depression Inventory-II at 12 months. Secondary outcomes included incidence of major depressive disorder at 12 months. We assessed quality of life, activity and circumstances change, functional impairment, and anxiety at baseline, end of the intervention, 5 months, and 12 months, the researchers said.

Practice of yoga is believed to heighten the spirit and the body.
The group which meditated had lesser risk of depression. Wikimedia Commons

At 12 months, compared with usual care peers, BAM patients had a slightly more favourable change in levels of depressive symptoms on the Beck Depression Inventory-II. The incidence of major depressive disorder was lower with BAM, whereas groups did not differ significantly on other secondary outcomes at 12 months.

The researchers, including Samuel Y. S. Wong, suggested that BAM group appears to be efficacious for decreasing depressive symptoms and reducing the incidence of major depression among patients with sub-threshold depression in primary care. IANS

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Stronger people have sharper brains: Study

Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health

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It is best to begin your gym workout with a dynamic warm-up routine. Pixabay

 If you thought hitting the gym only builds your physical strength, think again. A study of nearly half a million people has revealed that stronger people perform better in brain functioning tests.

Muscular strength, measured by handgrip, is an indication of how healthy our brains are, said the study published in the journal Schizophrenia Bulletin.

“Our study confirms that people who are stronger do indeed tend to have better functioning brains,” said study co-author Joseph Firth from NICM Health Research Institute, Western Sydney University, Australia.

Strong people have sharper brains. Wikimedia Commons

Using data from the 475,397 participants from all around Britain, the new study showed that on average, stronger people performed better in brain functioning tests that included reaction speed, logical problem solving, and multiple different tests of memory.

The study, which used UK Biobank data, showed the relationships were consistently strong in both people aged under 55 and those aged over 55. Previous studies had only shown this applies in elderly people.

The findings also showed that maximal handgrip was strongly correlated with both visual memory and reaction time in over one thousand people with psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia.

Also Read: Riding a bike to work as good as gym workout: Study

“We can see there is a clear connection between muscular strength and brain health,” Firth, who is also an honorary research fellow at the University of Manchester in Britain, said. “But really, what we need now, are more studies to test if we can actually make our brains healthier by doing things which make our muscles stronger — such as weight training,” he added. Previous research by the group has already found that aerobic exercise can improve brain health. “These sorts of novel interventions, such as weight training, could be particularly beneficial for people with mental health conditions,” Firth said.

“Our research has shown that the connections between muscular strength and brain functioning also exist in people experiencing schizophrenia, major depression and bipolar disorder — all of which can interfere with regular brain functioning,” he added. “This raises the strong possibility that weight training exercises could actually improve both the physical and mental functioning of people with these conditions,” he said. IANS