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Depression Care Prolongs Lives of Older Diabetics

Older adults with diabetes and depression who receive depression care management are half as likely to die over a five-year period than depressed patients with diabetes who receive none, according to a study by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. Results of the study, the first known trial that linked diabetes and mortality in a depression intervention trial, were published in the December 2007 issue of Diabetes Care.

A total of 584 participants, aged 60 to 94 were identified through a depression screening, 123 of which reported a history of diabetes. The participants were randomly assigned to usual care, or a depression care management intervention. Those in the depression care group were assigned a depression care manager who recommended treatment for depression and helped patients with treatment and adherence.

At follow-up, 110 depressed older adults with diabetes had died. However,those who were randomized to depression care management were less likely to die at the end of the fiveyear follow-up than those depressed older adults who only received usual care. Study authors believe that the result of the study provide for the integration of depression evaluation and treatment with diabetes management in primary care.

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