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Exercise steps up as depression buster

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10:39am, October 9, 2007

New evidence indicates that aerobic exercise, practiced either in a supervised group or alone at home, eases depression almost as well as a commonly prescribed antidepressant medication does.

Exercise achieved comparable results for patients with mild or moderate depression, says a team led by psychologist James A. Blumenthal of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C. The study excluded people with severe depression, which typically includes lethargy and a high risk of suicide.

Blumenthal's group randomly assigned 202 depressed outpatients to one of four routines: supervised group-exercise sessions, a home-exercise program, antidepressant treatment with sertraline (Zoloft), or placebo-pill treatment.

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