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Exercise Affects Positive and Negative Symptoms of Schizophrenia

Nonsignificant effect seen for exercise on depression among patients with schizophrenia

By Lori Solomon HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, March 22, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For patients with schizophrenia, exercise has a significant effect on positive and negative symptoms, according to a review published online Feb. 20 in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Myoungsuk Kim, from the College of Nursing at Kangwon National University in Chuncheon, South Korea, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine the effects of exercise on positive symptoms (such as delusions or hallucinations), negative symptoms (such as apathy, isolation, or decreased social functioning), and depression among patients with schizophrenia. Data were included from 15 studies.

The researchers identified a medium significant effect (standardized mean difference [SMD], −0.51; 95 percent confidence interval, −0.72 to −0.31), small significant effect (SMD, −0.24; 95 percent confidence interval, −0.43 to −0.04), and nonsignificant effect (SMD, −0.87; 95 percent confidence interval, −1.84 to 0.10) in a meta-analysis for overall exercise on negative symptoms, positive symptoms, and depression, respectively. Some of the included studies were low-quality, limiting the results.

“Our findings suggest that exercise interventions, including aerobic, multicomponent, or neuromotor exercises, can help improve clinical negative and positive symptoms,” the authors write. “In particular, multicomponent exercise intervention combined with aerobic and resistance exercises had a moderate effect size in improving the positive and negative symptoms of schizophrenia.”

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