Study uses aerobic exercise to treat teens with depression

CALGARY- Aerobic exercise is famous for helping people slim down, but researchers say it could also have another benefit: treating depression.

Researchers at the Alberta Children’s Hospital believe there’s a link between depression and a portion of the brain called the hippocampus.

In a Canadian first, scientists are trying to determine if exercise can increase the size of that part of the brain, reducing symptoms.

“There really is this physical detriment, a measurable physical detriment, you can see with depression,” explains neurobiologist Dr. Frank MacMaster. “Aerobic exercise is not just good for your body and good for your heart, it’s also good for your brain.”

They’ve teamed up with the YMCA to provide the exercise component of the two year study that will be aimed at teenagers. About 15 per cent of teens suffer episodes of depression, and treatments usually involve anti-depressants and behavioural therapy.

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