is the fourth most important cause of disability worldwide –
and is expected to become the second most important by 2020.
Statistics suggest that as many as 1 in 3 of us might experience
depressive symptoms during our lifetime and women are twice as
likely to be affected as men. Depression is a major problem and
treating depression a major drain on medical resources.
Now, new studies in the southwest of England are looking into
different approaches to the treatment of depression –
approaches that may have a significant impact on this debilitating
Bringing together expertise in Psychiatry, Exercise Psychology,
Health Economics and Primary Care, a collaboration of the
University of Bristol, the University of Exeter and the Peninsula
Medical School will conduct one of the largest studies in the
world, into the use of exercise as a treatment for depression.
Meanwhile, a parallel study at the University of Bristol will
examine patient DNA believing that this may hold the key to more
accurate drug prescription – matching patients to their
medication according to their own genetic make-up.
In the UK alone, depression costs the Health Service some
£80 million a year in antidepressant prescriptions. The
benefits of exercise and more accurately targeted medication could
make a considerable contribution to the treatment of depression
throughout the world.