Monday July 23, 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.

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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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Greening Vacant Lots can Reduce Depression in Urban Areas

The findings support that exposure to more natural environments can be part of restoring mental health, particularly for people living in stressful and chaotic urban environments

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Greening vacant land is a highly inexpensive and scalable way to improve cities and enhance people's health.
Greening vacant land is a highly inexpensive and scalable way to improve cities and enhance people's health. Pixabay

Greening sidewalks, parks and vacant or dilapidated spaces could be an important and inexpensive tool to help address the rising cases of depression, anxiety and stress in urban communities, suggests a study.

“Dilapidated and vacant spaces are factors that put residents at an increased risk of depression and stress and may explain why socioeconomic disparities in mental illness persist,” said lead author Eugenia South, Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania in the US.

“Greening vacant land is a highly inexpensive and scalable way to improve cities and enhance people’s health… while mental health therapies will always be a vital aspect of treatment. Revitalizing the places where people live, work and play may have broad, population-level impact on mental health outcomes,” added Charles Branas, Professor at the varsity.

In an experiment, published in JAMA Network Open, the research team measured the mental health of 342 Philadelphia residents before and after 541 vacant lots had been converted into green spaces as well as residents living near untreated abandoned lots, and those that just received trash clean-up.

In neighbourhoods below the poverty line, the feelings of depression among residents who lived near green lots decreased significantly by more than 68 per cent.
In neighbourhoods below the poverty line, the feelings of depression among residents who lived near green lots decreased significantly by more than 68 per cent. Pixabay

They found that people living within a quarter of a mile radius of greened lots had a 41.5 per cent decrease in feelings of depression compared to those who lived near the lots that had not been cleaned.

Those living near green lots also experienced a nearly 63 per cent decrease in self-reported poor mental health compared to those living near lots that received no intervention.

“What these new data show us is that making structural changes, like greening lots, has a positive impact on the health of those living in these neighbourhoods. And that it can be achieved in a cost-effective and scalable way,” Branas said.

Also Read: HIV Drug Is Not Linked to Depression: Study

In neighbourhoods below the poverty line, the feelings of depression among residents who lived near green lots decreased significantly by more than 68 per cent.

“The findings support that exposure to more natural environments can be part of restoring mental health, particularly for people living in stressful and chaotic urban environments,” the researchers said. (IANS)