Thursday, October 14, 2010

Drug-free ways of improving older people's mental-health

Researchers from the Australian National University Centre for Mental Health Research have been looking at ways to improve the mental wellbeing of older adults which don't involve drugs. Their two-year study, which had 900 participants, looked into the effectiveness of encouraging physical activity; folate and vitamin B12 supplements and educating people about mental health and depression. The first intervention was a wash out as people did not respond to encouragement to exercise more but the folate and vitamin B12 supplements led to an improvement in cognitive functions and in long- and short-term memory. The group who had been given information about depression - including what it is, what works for treating it and where to go for help - had a reduction in depressive symptoms suggesting that this could be a cheap and effective way to tackle depression among this group.

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