Class blog for sharing and commenting on current events in biology.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Swimming with Dolphins can Help Treat Depression

             If someone is diagnosed with depression is consuming antidepressant drugs and attending psychotherapy the only way to treat their depression? Scientists from BMJ, British Medical Journal, discovered that swimming with dolphins could treat mild to moderate depression. This experiment took place in Honduras and involved 30 patients who were diagnosed with mild or moderate depression. All of these patients were required to stop taking antidepressants or attending psychotherapy two weeks before the experiment so that all the data recorded was exact. Half of the patients performed water exercises without dolphins in the water and the other half did the same exercises with dolphins in the water. This was to provide an experimental and control for the experiment. Both groups practiced these water exercises for a duration of two weeks and once the experiment was finished, the people who swam with dolphins has less symptoms of depression than the other half of people who did not swim with dolphins. Three months later, participants from this experiment reported their improvement and some people improved so much that they did not require antidepressants or other treatment anymore. I think this article was well written and the author made it easy to understand. I think the author should have been more specific about the number of people who’s depression was helped from this experiment to give the reader a better idea on how effective this experiment was. I think the author could have improved this article by explaining the theory of biophilia.
            I thought this article was very interesting. I thought it was cool how this experiment supports the theory of biophilia, which implies “there is a natural bond between human beings and other living systems”. This experiment was a breakthrough in society because it proves that drugs are not the only way to cure a mental disorder. I hope that this experiment can allow scientists to develop treatments to mental illnesses, like depression, without prescribing addicting drugs. I also thought this article was interesting because of the theory of biophilia and I think it is fascinating how animals like dolphins can help a person who is suffering from depression. This article made me wonder if dolphins are the only animals that can be used to treat depression and why the scientist chose to use dolphins instead of other animals. I also became curious if animals can be used to treat other mental illnesses like anorexia or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Overall, I enjoyed reading this article and learning about how swimming with dolphins can help treat depression.   

"Biophilia Hypothesis." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Mar. 2014. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <>.

"Swimming with Dolphins Can Alleviate Depression." Swimming with Dolphins Can Alleviate Depression. British Medical Journal, n.d. Web. 30 Mar. 2014. <>.


  1. I think Celia summed up the idea and experiment very well and I liked how she introduced the experiment, I understood it. I also thought her critique was good because I also would have liked to know more about the theory of biophilia. The questions that Celia had after reading this article were all interesting and brought up some questions of my own such as the ethnical side of this practice- are the dolphins happy as well? Do they get proper care? This was a really interesting idea and I would like to follow this study as it progresses in the future. I did not know that there were significant ways to treat depression without medications. I was also intrigued by the theory of biophilia and the connection between humans and animals and how strong that really is. I thought Celia could improve on the flow of her writing but other than that I think she did a great job.

  2. Celia, after reading review many interesting and new ideas were shown to me. To believe that swimming with dolphins could relieve depression is shocking and important information. Celia, you did a great job of explaining the experiment in your review, and also express the importance of the hypothesis of biophilia in the second paragraph. Bringing up the question, if animals can be used to treat other mental illnesses. Also, what other animals besides dolphins is what I also liked about your review. Biophilia is a very interesting hypothesis of the "love of life or living system." this connection we can feel everyday. If, you have a dog, cat, or other companion you might feel this connection. I would like to see a new experiment arise about the possible health benefits of having a dog, cat, or family friend living in your home. One suggestion I have is that you go a little further on the topic of biophilia and if there are any previous experiments. Celia, great work and thank you for sharing this article.

  3. Great job Cece! I thought you did a very good job of explaining all the details in the experiment and you did this in a very easy, comprehendible way. I liked how you discussed questions you had after reading the article. Also, I agree with most of your questions like, are dolphins the only animals that could treat mental diseases? Also, why did they choose a dolphin? This is a very interesting article and topic you chose! You also did a great job of pointing out things you liked about the article or what could have been improved. In order to make your paragraph flow a little nicer I think you should try avoid saying "I thought, I thought" multiple times. Overall, great job and great article!

  4. I believe Celia did a good job at opening her review of the article. The question that she began the article with was very intriguing and urged me to read on. Besides this, I believe that Celia described and explained the experiment very well. Her explanation of the experiment was straightforward and easy to understand. Finally, I believe Celia did an excellent job relating this to society, and explaining why the article is relevant. The fact that the draws she gave this article to society were clear and relevant, the article was more important to me, as it gave it new and greater relevance in my mind. I personally wasn't aware that it was possible to treat depression with such natural therapies, and I found it interesting that the test subjects who performed activities with the dolphins showed significant improvement in the long-run. While your review of this article was overall a job well done, I felt that you used the personal pronoun "I" a few too many times. Well done with your review, and thank you for sharing the article.

  5. Not that I am depressed, but this article makes me want to go swim with the dolphins! The topic is fascinating, but the article itself that you chose is a little short, and thus skimpy on scientific details. The experiment is simple, but it leaves many follow-up questions to be answered. You raised some excellent ones in your conclusion. This topic definitely needs further study. I thought it was fascinating that even people without the dolphins showed improvement. Is this really biophilia, or is it the effect of exercise on the brain? How could that be controlled for in this experiment?

  6. I really enjoyed the beginning of your review and it caught my attention and I wanted to read more. It was an interesting topic. I saw that you made it very easy to understand by simplifying it and your summary was an appropriate size for me to understand it. You probably could have critiqued more if possible because I felt that was a bit vague, but overall I enjoyed reading about your event, and you did a really great job presenting the topic, and I am glad you enjoyed reading about it also.