#DE­PRES­SION

Focus-Science and Technology - - DISCOVERIES TRENDING -

FAST FOOD BLUES

Junk food may be con­tribut­ing to de­pres­sion, a study at James Cook Uni­ver­sity has found. Re­searchers com­pared the in­ci­dence of de­pres­sion in two groups of 100 peo­ple on sep­a­rate is­lands in the Tor­res Strait be­tween Pa­pua New Guinea and Aus­tralia – one where fast food is read­ily avail­able and one with no fast food out­lets. They found 16 show­ing signs of mod­er­ate to se­vere de­pres­sion on the is­land with fast food out­lets and just three on the is­land with no ac­cess to fast food. They say the ef­fect could be down to higher quan­ti­ties of n-6 PUFA, a fatty acid that’s linked to de­pres­sion and is found in fast food.

HOT BATHS = HAP­PI­NESS?

Ac­cord­ing to a study from the Uni­ver­sity of Freiburg, tak­ing a hot bath twice a week may help to re­lieve the symp­toms of de­pres­sion. Dur­ing the eight-week trial the study par­tic­i­pants were asked to take a twice-weekly 40°C bath for 30 min­utes, or do two 45-minute ses­sions of mod­er­ate aer­o­bic ex­er­cise such as jog­ging or cy­cling. Both groups re­ported an im­prove­ment in mood, but the ef­fect was more marked and kicked in faster in the bathing group. The ben­e­fits could come from the ef­fect that hot baths have on re­set­ting our cir­ca­dian rhythm, which can of­ten be dis­rupted in those suf­fer­ing from de­pres­sion.

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