Depression and physical activity
Hoax of drugs against mild or moderate depression? Best remedy: physical exercise.
Some of the most prestigious doctors and scientists around the world are coinciding about the inefficiency of drugs to treat many diseases, one of which: depression.
The new-generation antidepressants do not work except in the most severe cases and in most patients only have a placebo effect, according to a study published in ePublic Library of Science, conducted by scientists from the UK, USA and Canada.
In the words of Professor Irving Kirsch: “People with depression can improve without resorting to such treatments” (1)
Irving Kirsch Ph.D is the Associate Director at the Harvard Placebo Studies Program and Professor Emeritus at the University of Hull, Professor at the University of Connecticut, and Professor of Psychology at the University of Plymouth. Researching the placebo effect of drugs, Kirsch asked them to send him the clinical trials that pharmaceutical companies presented to the FDA. This body is responsible for approving drugs and regulate their use, so the FDA generally gets more data from the pharmaceutical companies than whatever gets published in scientific journals.
Functional neuroimaging studies show that both the administration of a placebo as an antidepressant produce similar and well defined responses, with changes in the nervous system that share a common pattern in limbic and paralimbic areas. When published and unpublished studies were matched in 38 clinical trials involving 3000 patients, Kirsch found that the response of the inert placebo was 75% of the effect of antidepressant drugs
When compared, there is no significant difference between an antidepressant drug to a placebo with active with side effects. Checking results with Corrado Barbui and Andrea Cipriani at the University of Verona, Kirsch found that when the side effects of placebo fit, the results showed that 20% difference between antidepressant and placebo disappeared. A Cochrane review confirms that the use of inert placebos literally “inflate” the results of these studies. All this is not new. It is not a discovery of Kirsch. It was already suggested in 1982, and of course, conveniently ignored by the medical industry.
Scientific culture generates the belief that clinical outcomes yield more, the closer the research is related to science fiction. However, the opposite is true. If only 10% of what has been invested today, would be invested in biomedical technology or to study molecular events in trials with physical exercise, the incidence of cancer, heart disease, depression, diabetes and vastness of other uncontrolled diseases would be infinitely less than it is nowadays.
Exercise is similarly or more antidepressant than many of the administered drugs (2), but it is also anti-inflammatory, anti-obesity, anti-stress, analgesic, antihypertensive, cardioprotective, neuroprotective, osteogenic, promotes neurogenesis, increases the number of neuronal synapses, improves learning, memory, stimulates muscle growth, improves balance, strength, endurance and prevent falls in the elderly, prevents cancer of the lung, prostate, breast, colon, cervix and the list goes on.
(1) Interview with Irving Kirsch: http://www.infocop.es/view_article.asp?id=3842
(2) Ernst C, Olson AK, Pinel JPJ, Lam RW, Christie BR. Antidepressant effects of exercise: evidence for an adult-neurogenesis hypothesis? J Psychiatry Neurosci. 2006; 31 (2): 84-92. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1413959/