This report provides a reason to review the past few months of CAM studies and reviews on depression.

Here are the details.
1006 hospitalized heart failure patients completed the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) when they were admitted to the hospital. They were then monitored every 6 months for an average of 2.5 years. The BDI is a 21 item self-report rating inventory measuring characteristic attitudes and symptoms of depression.

30% of patients were depressed — they had a BDI score of at least 10. And depression was significantly associated with reduced survival. Patients whose BDI scores were 5 to 9, 10 to 18, and greater than 18 were 21%, 53%, and 83% more likely to die, respectively, than patients whose BDI score was less than 5.

Here are the highlights from recent CAM publications on depression. It might come in handy.

Omega-3 fatty acids

  • Taking omega-3 fatty acids significantly improved depression in patients with clearly defined depression or with bipolar disorder.
  • Cod liver oil too.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)

  • Contradictory results showing that adding CBT to fluoxetine (Prozac) was no more beneficial for depressed adolescents than the medication alone.
  • For balance, these results are at odds with an earlier study.


  • Relieved depression and improve self-efficacy and personal well being among elderly persons with chronic physical illness and depression.


  • A small effect in favor of exercise in reducing depression and anxiety.
  • Little difference whether the exercise is of high or low intensity.

Ylang-ylang oil

  • Has a relaxing effect, and when used in aromatherapy helps relieve depression and stress.

Folic acid

  • Improves the response to antidepressants and possibly better treatment outcomes.

Image: Mississippi College

8/24/07 20:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.