Tuesday, May 29, 2012

A Cognitive 'Vaccine' Against Depression?

Cognitive exercises to reduce negative attention bias appear to reduce the risk of subsequent depression in individuals who were previously depressed, British researchers reported May 14 in Biological Psychiatry. Subjects with at least two previous episodes of depression were randomized to receive either a positive or a negative computer-based attention-bias-modification regime. The former were required to focus on photos of happy faces, whereas the latter were required to focus on photos of either happy or sad faces. Follow-up showed that the subjects who had focused on happy faces exclusively were less susceptible to subsequent depression than were the subjects who had focused on either happy or sad faces.

While this is an interesting study, there are still other interventions to prevent depression, such as exercising and challenging irrational, unrealistic, or overly negative thoughts. For more information about these findings, see Psychiatric News here and here and here .

(Image: Art Prestige Studio/Shutterstock.com)


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