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Study: Tai Chi Lessens Depression in Elderly


According to a new study, making use of the ancient Chinese martial art Tai Chi can effectively decrease symptoms of depression in elderly people.

A total of 112 adults ages 60 and over took the antidepressant escitalopram four weeks, to start. In this group that used only the antidepressant, only 27 percent of the subjects showed "dramatic improvement" by the end of the month and 39 subjects withdrew from the study.

The remaining 73 subjects continued to receive medication but were also assigned to either a tai chi class or a health education class for a 10-week period. After the dual-treatment period, 65 percent of the tai-chi subjects entered complete remission compared with 51 percent of the health course subjects.

Further, it was noted that 94 percent of the people who did Tai Chi saw their depressive symptoms greatly improve, if not completely subside versus 71 percent of the health course subjects.

Dr. Helen Lavretsky from the University of California, Los Angeles had this to say on the matter to MyHealthNewsDaily:

"…if we do an exercise, it has additional benefits instead of adding another medication or switching to another drug or doing nothing," Lavretsky said. "Exercise has this other benefit that improves cognition and physical health."

This particular study appeared in the March 16 issue of the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

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