CMAJ reports correlation between depression and hospital stays in geriatric males

According to a new study published by the Canadian Medical Association Journal1, untreated depression and more frequent, longer hospital stays are directly correlated in geriatric males. The collaborative study gathered data from over 5,411 geriatric males aged 65 and older from the UK, Australia, and the Netherlands.  The study was conducted over a period of 2 years. Determining whether an older male is suffering from depression may hold a potential for catching and identifying illness early on – a breakthrough for preventative medical efforts.  According to the Canadian Medical Association Journal, “These results [of the study] highlight the potential to target this high-risk group to reduce the burden of health care costs in an aging population1.”

The study found that patients in this age group are most unlikely to follow diet plans and restrictions, exercise, pursue treatment at the first signs of illness, and/or regularly take prescribed medication – resulting in more hospital visits at the advanced stage of illness.  Untreated depression may also be linked to higher incidences of heart failure, malignant disease, and neurological disorders as well as an increased risk of suicide.

It would be interesting if the study were pursued over a longer period of time. The long 4-week to 2-month onset of antidepressants to take effect should be considered against baseline depression in control studies, but it seems as though that was not a factor in this case.

Next up – a three part series on the correlation between carbon monoxide exposure and depression, and the first page of personality disorder: Spotlight on Histrionic Personality.

 

1. Association between depression and hospital outcomes among older men

A. Matthew Prina, Martijn Huisman, Bu B. Yeap, Graeme J. Hankey, Leon Flicker, Carol Brayne, Osvaldo P. Almeida

http://www.cmaj.ca/content/early/2012/12/10/cmaj.121171

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