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Impact of aerobic exercise on muscle mass in patients with major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial

Authors Kerling A, Hartung D, Stubbs B, Kück M, Tegtbur U, Grams L, Weber-Spickschen TS, Kahl KG

Received 9 March 2018

Accepted for publication 30 May 2018

Published 6 August 2018 Volume 2018:14 Pages 1969—1974

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/NDT.S167786

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Colin Mak

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Roger Pinder


Arno Kerling,1 Dagmar Hartung,2 Brendon Stubbs,3,4 Momme Kück,1 Uwe Tegtbur,1 Lena Grams,1 Thomas Sanjay Weber-Spickschen,1 Kai G Kahl5

1Institute of Sport Medicine, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany; 2Institute for Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany; 3Physiotherapy Department, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, Denmark Hill, London, UK; 4Health Service and Population Research Department, Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, London, UK; 5Department of Psychiatry, Social Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany

Objective: Sarcopenia leads to physical function impairment and at least to increasing all-cause mortality. There are notes on reduced muscle mass in patients with major depressive disorder (MDD). Whether an exercise intervention counteracts low muscle mass in patients with MDD has not been studied so far. Therefore, our study aimed at examining effects of regular aerobic exercise training on muscle mass in patients with MDD.
Participants and methods: Thirty inpatients with MDD were included in the study, of which 20 received an additional supervised exercise program. Ten patients obtained treatment as usual. Muscle mass was measured using MRI before and 6 weeks after the training period (3 times per week for 45 minutes).
Results: We found a significant effect of the exercise intervention on the amount of muscle mass depending on age, body mass index, and the physical activity score (P=0.042).
Conclusion: Among other positive effects, regular exercise increases muscle mass in patients with MDD and, therefore, should be recommended as an additional treatment tool.

Keywords: muscle mass, depression, sarcopenia, aerobic exercise

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