Physical activity may be an effective prevention strategy for depression: study reports

Reading Time: 2 minutes

By neucrad health

Health is wealth, says the elders over centuries. A good health keeps one’s physical and mental state fit and positive and this is conquered maximally by a higher level of physical exercise. A research study led by a team of scientists from Massachusetts General Hospital, in United States, found a fine link between more exercise and reduction of depression.

Physical exercise triggers different important biological phenomena in one’s body, starting from proper circulation of blood, secreting hormones, protection against dementia, development of gut’s microbial flora, and curing more diseased condition. The correlation between physical activity and major depressive disorder (medically terms as MDD) drew attention of many scientists. Now the question is whether more exercise reduces risk of depression.

Though depression leads to frequent eating habits, overeating, less movement, staying detached and in home, but it wasn’t understood that whether it is bidirectional or not. A comprehensive genetic process namely Mendelian Randomization (MR) sorted out the problem. This is the process to study modifiable factors on a disease by measuring variation of genes of a known function. It uses genetic polymorphism as a main tool that describe the effects of exposure patterns or exposure modifications (like, rise in blood cholesterol). In this case the effects of increased or decreased physical activity was observed on MDD that is controlled by certain genotype. Cumulative data from UK Biobank assisted the researchers to find out their subject with genotypic variant of MDD and their physical activity by a wrist accelerometer, depending on their self report as well as their (researchers’) own measurements.

The results assessed that the relation between MDD and physical exercise are not bidirectional, in fact more exercise induce less depression, but the reverse is spurious. The lead author of the paper, Karmel Choi says that any kind of physical activity can prevent any sign of developing depression.

Source: https://www.massgeneral.org/about/pressrelease.aspx?id=2343

https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/article-abstract/2720689

Image: Illustration purpose only, credit goes to pexels.com