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Science News About Older Adults

Ethnic Disparities Persist in Depression Diagnosis and Treatment Among Older Americans

Science Update

older African American male looking out to sea

Older racial and ethnic minorities living in the community are less likely to be diagnosed with depression than their white counterparts, but are also less likely to get treated, according to a recent NIMH-funded analysis published online ahead of print December 15, 2011, in the American Journal of Public Health.

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Use of Antipsychotics in Alzheimer’s Patients May Lead to Detrimental Metabolic Changes

Science Update

Woman looking out a window (photograph).

Atypical antipsychotic medications are associated with weight gain and other metabolic changes among patients with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a recent analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness—Alzheimer’s Disease (CATIE-AD) study. The study was published online ahead of print April 15, 2009, in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

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Brain Awareness Week Teaches Kids How Their Brains Work

Press Release

The 10th annual Brain Awareness Week (BAW), a science and health education fair held in various locations across the United States, teaches fifth through eighth grade students about the brain. In Washington, D.C., it will take place March 16-20, 2009, at the National Museum of Health and Medicine at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Several institutes from the National Institutes of Health will provide interactive exhibits and lectures focusing on brain health and neuroscience on March 18th and 19th.

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Health Care Costs Much Higher for Older Adults with Depression Plus Other Medical Conditions

Science Update

Medicare participants who have diabetes or congestive heart failure as well as depression have significantly higher health care costs than their counterparts who do not have co-existing depression, according to a recent NIMH-funded analysis published online ahead of print January 16, 2009, in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society.

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Antipsychotic Medications May Ease Some Alzheimer’s Symptoms, Not Others

Science Update

Antipsychotic medications may lessen symptoms like hostility and aggression in patients with Alzheimer’s disease, but do not appear to lessen other symptoms or improve quality of life, according to a recent analysis of data from the NIMH-funded Clinical Antipsychotic Trials of Intervention Effectiveness Alzheimer’s Disease (CATIE-AD) study.

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Preventive Treatment May Help Head Off Depression Following a Stroke

Science Update

For the first time, researchers show that preventive treatment with an antidepressant medication or talk therapy can significantly reduce the risk or delay the start of depression following an acute stroke, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health. These findings differ from past studies attempting to prevent poststroke depression. The study appears in the May 28, 2008, issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

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New Therapies Show Promise for Vascular Depression; Heart, Metabolic, Risks of Some Antipsychotic Medications Flagged

Science Update

WASHINGTON, DC, May 7 — Researchers see new treatments on the horizon for a type of depression related to blood vessels that affects the elderly, and have discovered why some elderly people fail to respond to current medications. In other studies, scientists urge caution regarding use of antipsychotics (usually for schizophrenia or other psychosis) in this and other populations to minimize metabolic, heart, and stroke risks.

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Paying More for Prescriptions May Limit Seniors’ Access to Antidepressants

Science Update

New cost-sharing policies may prevent some older adults diagnosed with depression from filling new antidepressant prescriptions, according to an analysis published in the April 2008 issue of Psychiatric Services.

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Primary Care Doctors May Overlook Elderly Patients’ Mental Health

Science Update

Doctors spend little time discussing mental health issues with their older patients and rarely refer them to a mental health specialist even if they show symptoms of severe depression, according to an NIMH-funded study published December 2007 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

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Team Care for Depressed Older Adults Cuts Overall Medical Costs

Science Update

A team approach to depression treatment for older adults, already shown to be effective, is also less expensive than usual care, according to an NIMH-funded study published February 2008 in the American Journal of Managed Care.

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Maintenance Treatment Prevents Recurrence in Older Adults with Single-Episode Depression

Press Release

People age 70 and older who continued taking the antidepressant that helped them to initially recover from their first episode of depression were 60 percent less likely to experience a new episode of depression over a two-year study period than those who stopped taking the medication, according to a study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), part of the National Institutes of Health.

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“Care Managers” Help Depressed Elderly Reduce Suicidal Thoughts

Press Release

An intervention that includes staffing doctors’ offices with depression care managers helps depressed elderly patients reduce suicidal thoughts, a study funded by NIH’s National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has found.

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Study Boosts Confidence in Potential Screening Tool for Alzheimer's Disease

Press Release

A major study has confirmed the value of potential markers for identifying people with Alzheimer's disease.

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