Mental health support for older adults needs to improve

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Dave Steele summarises an NIHR funded mixed methods study that concludes we don’t know much about how we should support older adults with mental health problems, except to say that we should be doing better.

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Lost in anxiety: treatment-resistant anxiety in older people

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Andrés Fonseca appraises a new systematic review of interventions for treatment-resistant anxiety in older people, which finds a disconcerting lack of evidence to help him support the many older patients he sees who are affected by anxiety disorders.

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Psychotherapy for depression in older adults: promising results, but insufficient good quality research

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This recent meta-analysis confirms that psychotherapy has a moderate to high effect on depression in older adults. However, a note of caution is sounded because of publication bias and the low quality of several of the included studies.

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Program of regular exercise may be beneficial in reducing depression in older adults

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The evidence-base supporting the use of exercise for depression is ever growing. Susie Johnson reports on a recent systematic review that adds to the discussion, but it’s not without its own limitations.

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Is the menopause depressing? Not necessarily

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Some of the lady Elves in the forest have been sharing their concerns about the menopause, and whilst keeping an eye out for hot flushes, night sweats and mood swings; what other changes will the menopause will bring?! Well, Freeman and colleagues have some good news and bad news for us. In November 2013, JAMA [read the full story...]

‘Beating the Blues’ intervention shows promise for reducing depression and improving quality of life in older African Americans

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This paper reports the findings of a study exploring a new approach to treating the symptoms of depression in older African Americans. This a group of the population with very high levels of general health care needs – the result of a combination of factors including the USA’s political and social history but also modern [read the full story...]

Dementia and the drive to increase diagnosis rates: the debate goes on

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As part of its excellent ‘Too Much Medicine’ series, the British Medical Journal last week published an important analysis of the current direction of travel in the field of dementia care. The article is hard to ignore, written as it is by highly authoritative academics from the UK and Australia, including Professor Carol Brayne, an [read the full story...]

Moderators of outcome in late-life depression: should we be prescribing antidepressants to older people?

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Meta-analyses are an incredibly useful tool for synthesising evidence. However, such analyses typically use aggregate data, meaning the average scores or outcomes for treatment groups, which can cause problems if we’re trying to dig a little deeper into the question of ‘what works’ to answer ‘what works, and for whom?’ The ‘for whom?’ question is [read the full story...]

Measuring treatment effects in dementia studies: towards a consistent approach

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It is now well accepted across the health and social care communities that the incidence of dementia is rising as people continue to live longer. The projected prevalence of dementia over the next ten to twenty years is causing widespread concern at all levels of policy making and care provision. There is a very real [read the full story...]

More evidence needed on additional interventions to reduce mortality in older people with depression

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It has consistently been shown that a link exists between older adults who have depression and mortality (Cuijpers & Smit, 2002, Schulz et al., 2002). RCTs have demonstrated that treating depression during later life in primary care settings can result in the remission of depression and its associated symptoms as well as improve quality of [read the full story...]