Dora  Revesz

MOod Treatment with Antidepressants or Running (MOTAR) study

Four aims are investigated:

1) Are the effects of antidepressant treatment and exercise treatment on depression and/or anxiety symptomatology and general health indicators comparable?
2) Is recovery of depression and/or anxiety after treatment associated with reduced cellular aging and metabolic stress?
3) Are antidepressants and exercise intervention similarly effective in reducing cellular aging and metabolic stress?
4) Are changes in depression and/or anxiety related brain activity accompanied by changes in physiological health?

The study’s design is a 16-week treatment program with either SSRIs or three times per week running. The sample consists of 240 participants with current major depressive disorder (MDD) and/or current anxiety disorder recruited in the mental health care setting. During the baseline assessment written questionnaires, an interview, medical examination, blood, urine and saliva collection and a cycle ergometer test will be taken and information will be gathered about demographic, (mental) health outcomes, psychosocial, clinical, biological and genetic determinants. Assessments will be repeated after 16 weeks of treatment with SSRIs or exercise training.
In addition, alterations in brain processes in a subsample of MDD patients will be assessed using functional MRI. This subsample will be examined by Lianne Schmaal, the postdoc researcher of MOTAR.

The findings of this trial are expected to provide detailed information about the relationship between treatment of depression and/or anxiety and the reduction of physiological stress, which contributes to a better understanding of the biological accomplishments of the two treatment regimens.