Health & Wellness

On the Record: 3 New Studies About Anxiety and Depression

By Wendy Haaf and Isabelle Huot

Benefits of Yoga, CBT Lasting

A 10-week course of yoga or cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) could continue to help ease anxiety, worry, and insomnia as long as six months after people stop attending sessions, a 2022 study suggests.

The research followed up on an earlier trial involving 500 older adults who scored above a certain cut-off on a test measuring anxiety and worry. Half were randomly assigned to either CBT or yoga, and half chose between the two. Both courses of treatment lasted 10 weeks; yoga sessions were in person twice weekly, while CBT phone calls took place once a week. At the end of the initial trial, both CBT and yoga were equally effective at reducing anxiety and worry, while CBT was more effective at treating insomnia.

The study found that these benefits were even more marked 37 weeks after the interventions had ended.

Source: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Vision Problems Linked With Depression

Keeping up with your eye exams may help reduce the chances of your developing depression, an international study hints.

Researchers analyzed data on more than 114,000 participants (average age 56.8 years) in the UK Biobank Study. The rate of depression among those with poor visual acuity (difficulty discerning letters and numbers at a given distance) was higher than in participants with no visual impairment: 12.4% versus 9.9%.

Brain-imaging studies also revealed links between depression and deterioration in areas that are connected to the primary visual cortex.

Source: JAMA Network Open


Feed Your Mental Health

Recent studies have shown that people who have irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) have a higher risk for depression, which suggests that mental health is related to the microbiome.

While studies are still too preliminary to support public-health recommendations, researchers are looking into the possible beneficial effect of probiotics on mental health. Very little data is available on the type, dose, duration, and method of administering probiotics to treat individual conditions, but probiotics are known to offer health benefits when consumed in sufficient quantities. In particular, they help to maintain a balance between good and bad bacteria in the colon.

Sources of probiotics include kefir, some yogourts, and fermented foods such as tempeh and miso.


Photo: iStock