UPMC Study Shows What May Be The Most Effective Treatment For Depressed Elderly

least one in six people and an even higher percentage among those in hospitals and nursing homes. It has serious health consequences, including suicide, illness and increased health care costs to society. Depression in the elderly is usually treated over a six-to-twelve-month period, but the chance of a recurrence during the two to three years after initial treatment is approximately 60 to 80 percent.

"Because of the devastating effects this disorder has on the elderly, we have made it a priority to find effective maintenance treatments to prevent recurrences," said Dr. Reynolds. "It was important for us to assess the major treatment strategies because some elderly patients may refuse to take medication and some have added stresses such as bereavement and role transitions to cope with."

"Dr. Reynolds and his team of researchers should be commended for their contribution to the field. To conduct a study of this magnitude requires a cohesive team of investigators committed to their community," commented Arthur S. Levine, M.D., senior vice chancellor for the Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at the University of Pittsburgh. "A long-term commitment by patients and their families is essential, and the unique bond Dr. Reynolds' researchers have formed with their patients encourages them to see the study through."

The study is a continuation of research centered at WPIC. In 1990, Ellen Frank, Ph.D., professor of psychiatry and psychology, and David J. Kupfer, M.D., Thomas Detre Professor and Chair, department of psychiatry and professor of neuroscience, published a landmark paper regarding the treatment of recurrent depression among adults. That study found that medication alone worked as well as a combination of medication and psychotherapy in preventing the recurrence of depression in middle-aged adults.

Other authors include: Ellen Frank, Ph.D.; James M. Perel, Ph.D.; Stanley D. Imber, Ph.D.; C

Contact: Craig Dunhoff
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

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