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Lifestyle Reduces Depression in Breast Cancer Survivors

Women who exercise, drink tea are significantly less likely to show depressive symptoms

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- In breast cancer survivors, regular physical activity and tea consumption may help prevent depression, according to a study published online Jan. 4 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Xiaoli Chen, M.D., of the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, and colleagues studied 1,399 Chinese women who were diagnosed with stage 0 to III breast cancer and interviewed after six and 18 months.

At 18 months, the researchers found that 26 percent of subjects reported depressive symptoms and that 13 percent had clinical depression. Compared to sedentary subjects, they found that regular exercisers were significantly less likely to have either mild depression or clinical depression (odds ratios, 0.71 and 0.56, respectively). They also found that regular tea consumption was associated with a lower risk of overall depression (odds ratio, 0.39).

"Most antidepressant drugs currently available are synthetic, nitrogen-bearing compounds that have been shown to have serious adverse effects, such as cardiovascular disease," the authors conclude. "Modifiable lifestyle behaviors, exercise participation, and tea consumption may offer a promising alternative to pharmacologic intervention. More research on the long-term effects of exercise and tea consumption on occurrence of depression among patients with different treatment modalities is warranted."

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