A summary of Effects of Exercise Training on Older Patients with Major Depression
Depression disorders constitute one of the major health issues of our time. Depression is ranked fourth in Disability Adjusted Life Years (DALYs) according to the World Health Organization (WHO), a figure which is expected to grow over the coming years to reach second place by the year 2030 1. Depression is a disorder, which if untreated can increase the risk of suicide. According to the WHO suicide occurs in close to one million cases every year making it one of the 20 most common causes of death2. Researchers are discovering more natural ways of reducing the symptoms of depression. The following study examined older patients with clinical depression and tested the effects of physical exercise on their depressive state.
Volunteers were of age 50+, underwent an initial screening, and were analyzed by a trained clinical psychologist, who determined the level of severity of the depression using the 17- item Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). The volunteers qualified for the study only if they met the four following symptoms of clinical depression (MMD): sleep disturbance, weight loss or loss in appetite, psychomotor retardation, and feeling of worthlessness or excessive guilt impaired cognition or concentration and recurrent thoughts of death. The selected participants scored at least 13 on the HAM-D testing.
The group of subjects was narrowed down to 156 older men and women. After the baseline assessment each volunteer was placed into one of three groups: exercise, medication, or combination of both. None of the participants were taking medication prior to this study. Randomized procedure was used to ensure that a even amount of each level of depression was put into each group. The treatment started one week after the diagnostic review.