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Talking Therapy Could Help Reduce the Risk of Heart Disease

UCL researchers studied 640,000 adults over 44 who had used counseling services such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), talking therapy, and guided self-help, both in-person and online. The patients answered questionnaires on depressive symptoms, including sleep issues and low mood.

Those whose symptoms improved with treatment were 12% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease in the following 3 years. Equal improvements were found in strokes and early mortality. It’s the first time a study has linked talking therapy with heart health, though other research has found that people with depression are 72% more likely to develop heart disease.

The study did have some limitations. No data was available on lifestyle choices such as smoking, while people who respond well to therapy may already lead a lifestyle that protects heart health.

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