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Effect of an Acute Bout of Aerobic Exercise on Serum Dehydroepiadosterone Sulfate (DHEAS) Levels in Clinically Diagnosed Bipolar Patients

by Hays, Anne Elizabeth

Abstract (Summary)
Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate (DHEAS) is thought to offset hypercortisolemia, which is found in individuals with bipolar disorder. While the cause of bipolar disorder remains unknown, previous studies have linked elevated cortisol levels with various mental health illnesses, including bipolar disorder. Previous studies suggest that exercise increases DHEAS levels in healthy subjects, however no studies have tested clinically diagnosed bipolar patients. It is hypothesized that the interaction between DHEAS and cortisol may be a contributing factor to the improvements in mood seen with exercise (McEwen 2002). PURPOSE: To determine the effect of an acute bout of aerobic exercise on DHEAS levels and perceptions of well-being in clinically diagnosed bipolar disorder patients. METHODS: Clinically diagnosed male (n=13) and female (n=13) bipolar patients (mean age 42.4 + 11.4 years) participated in this study. Ten ml of blood were drawn prior to the exercise session. Subjects walked on a treadmill for 20 min. at individualized intensities corresponding to 70% of age predicted maximum heart rate (APMHR). The exercise session finished with a 5 min. cool down. Within five min. post- completion of the cool down, a second blood draw, identical to the first, occured. Blood samples were spun and serum frozen until all samples could be collected and analyzed. A 7-point Likert questionnaire was administered pre and post exercise to assess perceptions of well-being. RESULTS: A two way ANOVA revealed a significant increase in DHEAS (p=0.01) after the acute bout of aerobic exercise. A dependant T-test also revealed a significant improvement in perception of global well-being following exercise (p<0.05). A non-significant (p=0.38) correlation of r=0.18 was found between DHEAS and perceptions of well-being. CONCLUSION: Treadmill exercise performed at of 70% of APMHR for 20 min. significantly increased DHEAS in clinically diagnosed bipolar subjects. Significant post exercise perceptions of well being improved. No relationship between well-being and DHEAS was revealed. Exercise appears to be responsible for an increase in DHEAS in bipolar patients; however, it appears that this increase may not be solely responsible for improvements in well-being.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Dr. Deborah Aaron, PhD., Health and Physical Activity; Dr. Kristie Abt, PhD, Health and Physical Activity; Dr. Fredric Goss, PhD., Health and Physical Activity; Dr. Elizabeth Nagle, PhD, Health and Physical Activity

School:University of Pittsburgh

School Location:USA - Pennsylvania

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:health physical and recreation education

ISBN:

Date of Publication:09/27/2007

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