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Improving Memory Eases Depression: Study

Wednesday, 19 Sep 2012 12:51 PM


Boosting a person’s memory may help alleviate symptoms of depression, surprising new research has found.
The study, published in the journal Clinical Psychological Science, is based on the work of an international team of psychologists that noted past research has shown people who suffer from depression often have difficulty tapping into specific memories from their own past. That impairment affects their ability to solve problems and can lead to feelings of distress.
For the new study, researchers from Iran, East Anglia and the U.K. sought to determine whether a memory training program, Memory Specificity Training, could improve people's recall of past events and alleviate their symptoms of depression.
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For five weeks, the researchers studied 23 adolescent Afghani refugees who had lost their fathers in the war in Afghanistan and who showed symptoms of depression. Twelve were randomly assigned to participate in the memory training program and 11 received no training.
For five weeks, those assigned to the training attended a weekly 80-minute group session, in which they learned about different types of memory and memory recall, and practiced recalling specific memories.
At the end of the study, all 23 adolescents were given a memory test. The results showed those who participated in the training were able to provide more specific memories than those who did not receive intervention. They also showed fewer symptoms of depression.
"Including a brief training component that targets memory recall as an adjunct to cognitive behavioral therapy or prior therapy may have beneficial effects on memory recall and mood," said researcher Laura Jobson of the University of East Anglia.
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Boosting a person’s memory may help alleviate symptoms of depression.
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