A trio of new studies suggests exercise may effectively prevent and treat depression. Previous research has pointed to the various benefits of exercise for depression, but many of the studies have been poorly designed or too small. A 2013 review concluded there was insufficient evidence to prove that exercise is effective against depression, so the three new studies collectively offer hope and insight for depression treatment.
One study reviewed previous studies and found a clear link between regular exercise and a significant drop in depression rates. The least physically fit people in the study were 75% more likely to become depressed. A second study pooled data from 25 previous studies on depression and exercise, and concluded that exercise could be an effective treatment for depression.
The third study looked at how exercise might alleviate symptoms of depression. Researchers found physical exercise reduced inflammation, which is associated with depression and other health problems. Physical activity also increased various hormones and other chemicals associated with good mental health.
Taken together, the three studies involved data on more than a million people, and the findings strongly suggest those who are physically active are less likely to experience depression and more likely to avoid other mental health issues as well.Grief lingers for years in some cases, making it difficult to function. The intensity of grief is linked to the closeness of the relationship, so parents who lose children often experience its symptoms at higher rates. Long-lasting or chronic grief is also more common among women. An ongoing debate surrounds the question of whether this grief is a normal result of unbearable circumstances or a mental health diagnosis. Some grief experts are currently lobbying for a new diagnosis of persistent complex bereavement. Preliminary research suggests 16 structured therapy sessions might treat symptoms.
A new injectable opioid dependence treatment appears to reduce symptoms of addiction. The late-stage clinical trial moves research closer to uncovering a new weapon in the arsenal against opioid addiction. The company will present the findings of the study at a conference in April and then start the approval process in the middle of 2017.
Mental health diagnoses can exacerbate physical health challenges in hospitalized children, a new study suggests. Children with comorbid mental health conditions—including depression, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity—remained hospitalized longer, pointing to a link between mental and physical health.
Many social media platforms force users to choose between two genders, leaving gender nonconforming people with few options. Tinder now allows users to identify as transgender or gender-nonconforming on the popular dating app. The change comes in the wake of increased concern about transgender harassment on the platform, and advocates say it sets an important example for other social media platforms to follow.
Numerous studies link spanking to negative behavioral and cognitive outcomes in children, and fewer American parents are using physical discipline on their children. Spanking rates have declined since 1988, according to a new study. Relying on self-reports, researchers concluded parents are using timeouts more frequently than spanking. Class-based differences in spanking continue to persist, with lower income parents spanking their kids at higher rates than parents who earn higher incomes. However, parents with lower incomes are also increasingly using timeouts as a discipline option.
Attention deficit hyperactivity (ADHD) and autism diagnoses often overlap, but until 2013, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) did not allow for a joint diagnosis of both, mainly due to the differences of severity between the two conditions. Research suggests 30-80% of people with autism may also have ADHD. People who do have both conditions may not respond to typical ADHD treatments, or they may experience negative side effects. As a result, researchers are increasingly exploring joint treatment options.
A study in mice has linked excessive consumption of fatty foods to later mental health problems. Mice fed high-fat diets had more difficulties with executive functioning and working memory. The study’s authors think the culprit might be hypersensitivity to a protein called reelin. A deficiency of reelin has been established as a factor in schizophrenia and Alzheimer’s, though the study’s authors say further research is needed to confirm the study’s results in humans.
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