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Exercise as Medical Treatment for Depression - ScienceDirect

The investigators randomized 101 patients with various degrees of depression into 3 treatment groups: sertraline (50 to 200 mg), group exercise 3 times per week, or placebo. Baseline depressive symptoms were assessed both by the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression and a structured interview. Approximately one-half of the patients had major depression. At 4-month follow-up, there were comparable reductions in depressive symptoms among the patients who received sertraline and those who underwent exercise, and both groups had greater reductions in depressive symptoms compared with placebo. These results are concordant with those of 2 prior randomized studies these investigators performed to compare exercise with antidepressant medication in noncardiac subjects with depression (18, 19).

Research reveals dangerous midlife switch of ditching activity to sit still -- ScienceDaily

Investigators were able to draw the conclusions using data from the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults Study, also known as CARDIA, which started following 5,115 participants between ages 18 to 30 more than 30 years ago, measuring their activity levels with an accelerometer, or activity monitor, that is similar to a pedometer. These decreases of physical activity over a 10-year period in middle age were observed in both men and women. However, the decline was steepest among black men who typically started being the most active but reduced their activity levels by nearly one hour daily. Black women began as the least active, and continued to have the lowest physical activity levels 10 years later.

Cardio exercise and strength training affect hormones differently -- ScienceDaily

Endurance training on a bicycle has such a marked effect on the metabolic hormone that we know ought to take a closer look at whether this regulation of FGF21 is directly related to the health-improving effects of cardio exercise. FGF21's potential as a drug against diabetes, obesity and similar metabolic disorders is currently being tested, so the fact that we are able to increase the production ourselves through training is interesting', Christoffer Clemmensen elaborates.

How do muscles know what time it is? -- ScienceDaily

In collaboration with Italian and Austrian colleagues (from the Venetian Institute of Molecular Medicine and the Universities of Padua, Graz, and Trieste) the researchers identified certain processes that are switched on at night by the regulators of the internal clock: "They include, for example, fat storage, glucose metabolism and insulin sensitivity," explains Henriette Uhlenhaut. At the same time, opposing processes such as fatty acid oxidation and protein breakdown are throttled down, according the authors. These patterns are especially pronounced in the hours before awakening and are thought to prepare the muscles for the day ahead. In the final step, the scientists investigated possible ways to intervene in these processes. To this end, they examined mice lacking these master regulators. Without a circadian clock, the animals were leaner, with less fat and more muscle mass. "Taken together, our work has revealed an entire metabolic network at multiple levels," Uhlenhaut explains. "Another biologically exciting finding is that, contrary to expectations, the key regulator is not centrally located in the brain, but is in fact the internal clock of the muscle cells themselves." In the long term, the authors will investigate the mechanisms also in humans and try to find a way for therapeutic interventions. Their hope is that it might be possible to counteract insulin resistance in type 2 diabetes or to stimulate energy use to combat obesity.

Depressed patients see quality of life improve with nerve stimulation: Study focuses on people not treated effectively with antidepressants -- ScienceDaily

The researchers followed 328 patients implanted with vagus nerve stimulators, many of whom also took medication. They were compared with 271 similarly resistant depressed patients receiving only treatment as usual. In assessing quality of life, the researchers evaluated 14 categories, including physical health, family relationships, ability to work and overall well-being. "On about 10 of the 14 measures, those with vagus nerve stimulators did better," Conway said. "For a person to be considered to have responded to a depression therapy, he or she needs to experience a 50 percent decline in his or her standard depression score. But we noticed, anecdotally, that some patients with stimulators reported they were feeling much better even though their scores were only dropping 34 to 40 percent." A vagus nerve stimulator is surgically implanted under the skin in the neck or chest. Stimulation of the vagus nerve originally was tested in epilepsy patients who didn't respond to other treatments. The FDA approved the device for epilepsy in 1997, but while testing the therapy, researchers noticed that some epilepsy patients who also had depression experienced fairly rapid improvements in their depression symptoms.

Take a Vacation From Exercise? Your Body May Not Thank You - The New York Times

Like the adults in the other study, these older volunteers quickly developed worse blood sugar control during their two weeks of barely moving. Insulin resistance climbed. Some developed changes in muscle tissue indicating that they might soon begin to lose muscle mass, and a few had to be removed from the study because they had edged into full-blown Type 2 diabetes after becoming inactive. For most of the men and women who remained in the experiment, their undesirable metabolic changes were not fully reversed after two weeks of moving about again.

Why Sitting May Be Bad for Your Brain - The New York Times

It was equally apparent when people broke up their sitting after two hours, although blood flow rose during the actual walking break. It soon sank again, the ultrasound probes showed, and was lower at the end of that session than at its start. But brain blood flow rose slightly when the four hours included frequent, two-minute walking breaks, the scientists found. Interestingly, none of these changes in brain blood flow were dictated by alterations in breathing and carbon dioxide levels, the scientists also determined. Carbon dioxide levels had remained steady before and after each session.

Exercise Can Help Beat Cocaine Addiction - Neuroscience News

Using animal models, Thanos found that regular aerobic exercise (one hour on a treadmill, five times a week) decreased stress-induced cocaine-seeking behavior. Exercise also altered behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Individuals who are addicted to cocaine have altered neural, behavioral and physiological responses to stress. Recent research by Thanos demonstrated how exercise can alter the brain’s mesolimbic dopamine pathway, which is linked to the rewarding and reinforcing properties of drugs such as cocaine. In addition, exercise has been shown to reduce stress hormones and elevate mood, which could assist in alleviating anxiety and negative emotions associated with withdrawal.

The Lancet Psychiatry: Exercise linked to improved mental health, but more may not always be better | EurekAlert! Science News

Exercising for 30-60 minutes was associated with the biggest reduction in poor mental health days (associated with around 2.1 fewer days of poor mental health compared with people who did not exercise). Small reductions were still seen for people who exercised more than 90 minutes a day, but exercising for more than three hours a day was associated with worse mental health than not exercising at all. The authors note that people doing extreme amounts of exercise might have obsessive characteristics which could place them at greater risk of poor mental health.

Heat therapy boosts mitochondrial function in muscles: Increased capability of cells' energy centers could help treat heart disease, diabetes -- ScienceDaily

Mitochondria, the "energy centers" of the cells, are essential for maintaining good health. A decrease in the number or function of mitochondria may contribute to chronic and potentially serious conditions such as heart disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and type 2 diabetes. Exercise has been shown to create new mitochondria and improve function of existing mitochondria. However, some people with chronic illnesses are not able to exercise long enough -- previous research suggests close to two hours daily -- to reap the benefits. Rodent studies have suggested that heat exposure may also induce the production of more mitochondria. Researchers from Brigham Young University in Utah studied 20 adult volunteers who had not participated in regular exercise in the three months prior to the study. The research team applied two hours of shortwave diathermy -- a type of heat therapy generated by electrical pulses -- to the thigh muscles of one leg of each person every day. The researchers based the six-day trial of heat on the minimum amount of exercise needed to measure changes in muscle, or about two hours each day. They designed the treatment to mimic the effects of muscle heating that occurs during exercise. The therapy sessions increased the temperature of the heated leg by approximately 7 degrees F. Each participant's other leg served as a control, receiving no heat therapy or temperature change. The researchers looked at mitochondria content in the muscles on the first day of therapy and 24 hours after the last treatment. Mitochondrial function increased by an average of 28 percent in the heated legs after the heat treatment. The concentration of several mitochondrial proteins also increased in the heated legs, which suggests that "in addition to improving function, [repeated exposure to heat] increased mitochondrial content in human skeletal muscle," the research team wrote.

Exercise makes the blood of obese people healthier -- ScienceDaily

The exercise program consisted of three bicycling or treadmill running sessions per week with each session lasting approximately one hour. Blood was collected before and after the exercise training intervention to quantify blood-forming stem cells. The results of the study demonstrated that exercise reduced the number of blood-forming stem cells associated with the production of the type of blood cells responsible for inflammation.

Often overlooked glial cell is key to learning and memory: Biomedical scientists offer simple advice: Keep the brain active -- ScienceDaily

In the lab, the researchers artificially increased levels of ephrin-B1 in mice and then tested them for memory retention. They found that the mice could not remember a behavior they had just learned. In cell culture studies, they added neurons to astrocytes that overexpressed ephrin-B1 and were able to see synapse removal, with the astrocytes "eating up" the synapses. "Excessive loss of synapses is a problem," Ethell said. "The hippocampus, the region of the brain associated primarily with memory, is plastic. Here, new neuronal connections are formed when we learn something new. But the hippocampus has a limited capacity; some connections need to go to 'make space' for new connections -- new memories. To learn, we must first forget." In contrast to an ephrin-B1 increase, when this protein decreases (or is down-regulated) it results in more synapses -- and better learning. The astrocytes, in this case, are not able to attach to the synapses. "But you don't want to remember everything," said Amanda Q Nguyen, a Neuroscience Graduate Program student working in Ethell's lab, and a co-first author of the research paper. "It's all about maintaining a balance: being able to learn but also to forget." Advice the researchers have for the public is simple: keep the brain -- that is, the neurons -- active. "Reading and solving puzzles is a good start," Ethell said.

Running as a Key Lifestyle Medicine for Longevity. - PubMed - NCBI

Running is a popular and convenient leisure-time physical activity (PA) with a significant impact on longevity. In general, runners have a 25%-40% reduced risk of premature mortality and live approximately 3 years longer than non-runners. Recently, specific questions have emerged regarding the extent of the health benefits of running versus other types of PA, and perhaps more critically, whether there are diminishing returns on health and mortality outcomes with higher amounts of running. This review details the findings surrounding the impact of running on various health outcomes and premature mortality, highlights plausible underlying mechanisms linking running with chronic disease prevention and longevity, identifies the estimated additional life expectancy among runners and other active individuals, and discusses whether there is adequate evidence to suggest that longevity benefits are attenuated with higher doses of running.

Exercise Reduces Dopamine D1R and Increases D2R in Rats: Implications for Addiction

Exercised rats had 18% and 21% lower D1R-like binding levels compared to sedentary rats within the olfactory tubercle (OT) and nucleus accumbens shell (AcbS), respectively. In addition, male and female exercise rats showed greater D2R-like binding levels within the dorsomedial (DM CPu; 30%), ventrolateral (VL CPu; 24%), and ventromedial (VM CPu; 27%) caudate putamen, as well as the OT (19%). Greater D2R-like binding in the nucleus accumbens core (AcbC; 24%) and shell (AcbS; 25%) of exercised rats compared to sedentary rats approached significance. No effects were found for DAT binding.

How Mitochondria Keep Our Brains and Minds Moving – Association for Psychological Science

Although the exact mechanisms through which mitochondria may contribute to such a range of disorders is still poorly understood, the authors wrote, studies suggest that the path to mitochondrial health is a familiar one: Exercise, getting enough sleep, eating a nutrient rich diet, and engaging in stress-reducing activities like yoga and meditation can all have a positive influence. In one study, rats who swam for 10 to 30 minutes a day for 20 weeks were found to have fewer mutations in their mitochondrial DNA than those who did not. Some research suggests that eating a ketogenic diet high in fat and low in carbohydrates and sugar may improve energy production.

Reduced hippocampal volume observed in currently but not previously depressed older adults

By analyzing MRI brain scans, Calati and her colleagues observed hippocampal volume reduction in currently depressed participants compared to the healthy control group. But they found no significant difference between those with a history of past, but not current, depression and the healthy controls. “When we compared the three groups, we found left posterior hippocampal volume reduction in currently depressed individuals when compared to healthy subjects. This reduction was not present when we compared past depressed subjects to healthy controls,” Calati explained.

How to Motivate Yourself to Exercise When You Have Depression | Mind | US News

But for people with depression – a condition in which low motivation to do regular daily activities (say, taking a shower, getting dressed or going to work) is a prominent symptom – finding motivation to exercise can feel like a fool's errand. Indeed, in a study of 245 patients at a Michigan mental health outpatient clinic, 80 percent of patients wanted to exercise more, but most said their mood limited their ability to do so. "All people experience procrastination on tasks that feel like they're going to take a lot of effort – that's universal," says Rachel Hershenberg, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University in Atlanta. "That urge to avoid – that's what gets magnified in depression."

Could stress (exercise?) help unlearn anxiety?

On the following day, 50 per cent of the cohort were exposed to a stressful situation: they had to hold one hand in ice water and were filmed and monitored by a supervisor. The other 50 per cent of the cohort were not subjected to the stress test. Subsequently, all participants were shown pictures of the lamp emitting coloured light, which were not followed by electric stimulations; however, the lamp was no longer located in an office but in a library. On the third day, the team presented the office and the library photos of the lamp emitting coloured light without following it up by electric stimulations. In both the office and the library context, participants in the stress group responded less anxiously to the colour of light, which had preceded electric stimulations on the first day. They had transferred the knowledge that no unpleasant stimulus would follow from the library context to the office context. This was not the case in the non-stress cohort. The participants of this group continued to present an anxious response when they saw the colour of light in the office context that had been accompanied by electric stimulations on the first day. When presented library photos, they responded in the same way as the control group, i.e. showing no anxiety. For them, extinction learning occurred only in one specific context.

CivicScience | U.S. Adults Who Exercise are Sweating it Out Solo

Turns out, adults of every generation are interested in solo exercise. Though, when it comes to working out with a friend, 50% of responders are Millennials, while 48% of those who prefer group fitness classes are from Generation X. As for those who rarely or never work out, 45% are Baby Boomers. So although most adults agree that exercising should be an individual affair, there are clear preferences in the other categories that strongly correspond to age. That said, across generations, we found that those who work out alone also tend to work out the most, indicating that they get moving several times a week. This makes sense since 21st-century adults have busy schedules that may not align with meeting up with friends, a personal trainer, or making it to a class. For many, exercising alone may just be the most practical choice.

Seniors stick to fitness routines when they work out together -- ScienceDaily

Over the 24-week period, participants who worked out with people their own age attended an average of 9.5 more classes than counterparts in the mixed-age group. Participants in the mixed-age group averaged 24.3 classes. Participants in the same-age, mixed-gender group averaged 33.8 classes, and participants in the same-age, same-gender group averaged 30.7 classes.

Does physical activity influence the health of future offspring? Study finds an intergenerational benefit -- ScienceDaily

When Fischer and co-workers exposed mice to a stimulating environment in which they had plenty of exercise, their offspring also benefited: compared to the mice of a control group, they achieved better results in tests that evaluate learning ability.

This is your brain on exercise: Vigorous exercise boosts critical neurotransmitters, may help restore mental health -- ScienceDaily

The researchers measured GABA and glutamate levels in two different parts of the brain immediately before and after three vigorous exercise sessions lasting between eight and 20 minutes, and made similar measurements for a control group that did not exercise. Glutamate or GABA levels increased in the participants who exercised, but not among the non-exercisers. Significant increases were found in the visual cortex, which processes visual information, and the anterior cingulate cortex, which helps regulate heart rate, some cognitive functions and emotion. While these gains trailed off over time, there was some evidence of longer-lasting effects. "There was a correlation between the resting levels of glutamate in the brain and how much people exercised during the preceding week," Maddock said. "It's preliminary information, but it's very encouraging." These findings point to the possibility that exercise could be used as an alternative therapy for depression. This could be especially important for patients under age 25, who sometimes have more side effects from selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), anti-depressant medications that adjust neurotransmitter levels.

Electroshock before exercise?!

Depression, even the most severe cases, can be treated. The earlier that treatment can begin, the more effective it is. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and other brain stimulation therapies may be options to explore.

Executive-related oculomotor control is improved following a 10-min single-bout of aerobic exercise: Evidence from the antisaccade task - ScienceDirect

hus, a 10-min bout of moderate-to-vigorous intensity aerobic exercise benefits executive-related oculomotor control, and is a finding we attribute to an exercise-based increase in attention/arousal and/or improved task-specific activity within the frontoparietal networks supporting antisaccades.

New neurons in the adult brain are involved in sensory learning -- ScienceDaily

The scientists from the Institut Pasteur and the CNRS observed that the new neurons were able to react differently to an odor depending on the consequences associated with that sensory experience, such as whether or not there would be a reward. They also demonstrated that olfactory learning, in which the mice had to associate an odor with positive reinforcement, became easier once the new neurons had been activated. Finally, simply activating these adult-born neurons could be assimilated with a reward-predicting odor. In short, this research shows that adult-born neurons are involved in the value associated with sensory stimuli rather than just the identification of the nature of a given sensory stimulus. It demonstrates that reward-motivated learning depends largely on adult neurogenesis.

Cognitive dysfunction in major depression and bipolar disorder: Assessment and treatment options - MacQueen - 2016 - Psychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences - Wiley Online Library

Exercise may have positive effects on cognition in healthy people and is being investigated as a possible strategy for maintaining cognitive function throughout aging. It also improves symptoms of depression.[76-79] The degree to which it actually improves cognitive function in those with a mood disorder is not well known.[80] High-dose exercise was associated with improvement in spatial working memory while other cognitive domains, including attention, visual memory, and spatial planning, improved regardless of dose in one study.[81] Another study included a subset of patients with BD (3/12, while the other participants had schizophrenia) and found that intense circuit training was associated with improvement in memory and processing speed; depressive symptoms also improved.[82] There are therefore a variety of factors that require investigation to understand how to maximize the benefits of exercise on cognition in patients with mood disorders. These include better understanding of the individual variability in response to training, optimal dosing or training schedules, the synergistic effects of exercise in combination with other interventions[83] and the actual mechanisms through which exercise works on the neural circuits that are disrupted in depression.