Published on September 13, 2013 at 8:31 AM
“Our review suggested that exercise might have a moderate effect on depression,” said one of the authors of the review, Gillian Mead of the Centre for Clinical Brain Sciences at the University of Edinburgh in Edinburgh, UK. “We can’t tell from currently available evidence which kinds of exercise regimes are most effective or whether the benefits continue after a patient stops their exercise programme.”
Conducting high quality trials involving exercise can be problematic. For example, it is difficult to conceal which patients have been allocated to treatment groups, and which have been allocated to control or no treatment groups. Therefore, the researchers carried out a separate analysis focussing on the high quality trials. In these six trials, the effect of exercise was weaker.
“When we looked only at those trials that we considered to be high quality, the effect of exercise on depression was small and not statistically significant,” said Mead. “The evidence base would be strengthened by further large-scale, high quality studies.”