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A series of studies at Duke University Medical Center in the USA reveals that physical exercise can be used as a treatment for depression and can help reduce relapse. In one study 156 patients with a diagnosis of Major Depressive Disorder were divided into three groups. One group had an exercise program only, a second group had SSRI antidepressant medication only, and a third group had both treatments. After four months of treatment, patients in all groups had improved and there was little difference between the three groups. It appears that for these patients, the specific exercise program was as effective as antidepressant medication. After 10 months, however, there was a lower relapse rate in the exercise group than the medication group. (Psychosomatic Medicine. 2000;62:633-638)