Physio’s video on exercise for depression wins Cochrane competition

A physiotherapist has produced a competition-winning YouTube video, which explains the findings of a review of research on using exercise for depression.


Cynthia Srikesavan (pictured), a post-doctoral research assistant in physiotherapy at the University of Oxford, created the video in response to a contest run by Cochrane UK, a not-for-profit organisation that produces independent and accessible health information.

The competition challenged health professionals to create a resource that could share the findings a Cochrane review, relevant to their practice, with their peers and colleagues.

Dr Srikesavan told Frontline: ‘I chose a 2013 review on exercise for depression, because I think it’s a very relevant topic for physiotherapists.

'There is not enough evidence yet, but more is emerging and you can prescribe exercise if you integrate the general evidence for the benefits of exercise with your clinical judgment and a patient’s needs.’

Quick way to review evidence base

The video highlights the review’s conclusion that there is no high quality evidence to recommend exercise as a standalone intervention or one that can replace anti-depressants or psychological therapies for adults with depression.

However, Dr Srikesavan said that therapists could apply the results of the review in their practice and prescribe exercise for depression if they

  • take account of the available evidence on general health benefits of exercise
  • use their clinical judgement and experience
  • have an awareness of patient preferences and willingness to exercise

‘People don’t have time to read a whole 30 or 40 page document, so the video is about sharing the findings of the review in a way that a therapist can quickly and easily see what the current evidence is,’ said Dr Srikesavan.

Her prize for winning the competition included a free ticket to the Cochrane UK-Ireland symposia, which took place in Oxford in March.

Author: Robert Millett

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