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Tai Chi Helps Prevent or Treat Late-life Depression

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February 25, 2019 - In contrast to traditional perspectives of resilience as a stable, trait-like characteristic, resilience is now recognized as a multi-dimensional, dynamic capacity influenced by life-long interactions between internal and environmental resources.

Researchers at Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA reviewed psychosocial and neurobiological factors associated with resilience to late-life depression (LLD). Recent research has identified both psychosocial characteristics associated with elevated LLD risk (e.g., insecure attachment, neuroticism) and psychosocial processes that may be useful intervention targets (e.g., self-efficacy, sense of purpose, coping behaviors, social support). Psychobiological factors include a variety of endocrine, genetic, inflammatory, metabolic, neural, and cardiovascular processes that bidirectionally interact to affect risk for LLD onset and course of illness.

Several resilience-enhancing intervention modalities show promise for the prevention and treatment of LLD, including cognitive/psychological or mind-body (positive psychology; psychotherapy; heart rate variability biofeedback; meditation), movement-based (aerobic exercise; yoga; Tai Chi), and biological approaches (pharmacotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy).

Additional research is needed to further elucidate psychosocial and biological factors that affect risk and course of LLD. In addition, research to identify psychobiological factors predicting differential treatment response to various interventions will be essential to the development of more individualized and effective approaches to the prevention and treatment of LLD.




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