Late-life Depression: Evidence-based Treatment and Promising New Directions for Research and Clinical Practice
Department of Psychiatry, Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, University of Pittsburgh, 3811 O'Hara Street, 247 Sterling Plaza, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.The Psychiatric clinics of North America (Impact Factor: 1.87). 06/2011; 34(2):335-55, vii-iii. DOI: 10.1016/j.psc.2011.02.005
As the population ages, successive cohorts of older adults will experience depressive disorders. Late-life depression (LLD) carries additional risk for suicide, medical comorbidity, disability, and family caregiving burden. Although response and remission rates to pharmacotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy are comparable with those in midlife depression, relapse rates are higher, underscoring the challenge to achieve and maintain wellness. This article reviews the evidence base for LLD treatment options and provides an analysis of treatment options for difficult-to-treat LLD variants (eg, psychotic depression, vascular depression). Treatment algorithms are also reviewed based on predictors of response and promising novel treatment options.
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- "Untreated depressive symptoms accelerate the course of the disease in dementia (Singh-Manoux et al., 2010; Rapp et al., 2011), and depression is associated with mortality in the elderly (Rapp et al., 2008). Psychosocial interventions in combination with antidepressants have been suggested to be more effective than antidepressive medication alone (Mecocci et al., 2004), and a recent meta-analysis suggests limited efficacy of antidepressant medication in dementia (Andreescu et al., 2011). "
ABSTRACT: To investigate the efficacy of animal-assisted therapy (AAT) on symptoms of agitation/aggression and depression in nursing home residents with dementia in a randomized controlled trial. Previous studies have indicated that AAT has beneficial effects on neuropsychiatric symptoms in various psychiatric disorders but few studies have investigated the efficacy of AAT in patients suffering from dementia. Of 65 nursing home residents with dementia (mean [standard deviation] age: 81.8 [9.2] years; mean Mini-Mental State Examination score: 7.1 [0.7]), 27 matched pairs (N = 54) were randomly assigned to either treatment as usual or treatment as usual combined with AAT, administered over 10 weekly sessions. Blinded raters assessed cognitive impairment with the Mini-Mental State Examination, presence of agitation/aggression with the Cohen-Mansfield Agitation Inventory, and depression with the Dementia Mood Assessment Scale at baseline and during a period of 4 weeks after AAT intervention. In the control group, symptoms of agitation/aggression and depression significantly increased over 10 weeks; in the intervention group, patients receiving combined treatment displayed constant frequency and severity of symptoms of agitation/aggression (F1,48 = 6.43; p <0.05) and depression (F1,48 = 26.54; p <0.001). Symptom amelioration did not occur in either group. AAT is a promising option for the treatment of agitation/aggression and depression in patients with dementia. Our results suggest that AAT may delay progression of neuropsychiatric symptoms in demented nursing home residents. Further research is needed to determine its long-time effects.
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- "Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in 2008 as a treatment for pharmacotherapy-resistant depression.6 A high-frequency pulse repetitive TMS (rTMS) is applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. "
ABSTRACT: The aim of the study reported here was to examine the safety and effectiveness of high-frequency repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) in elderly patients with depression. Sixty-five depressed elderly patients received rTMS over their left prefrontal cortex for 6 days per week, from Monday to Saturday, for 3 weeks. The rTMS intensity was set at 100% of the motor threshold and 25 Hz stimulation with a duration of 2 seconds and was delivered 20 times at 30-second intervals. A full course comprised an average of 1000 magnetic pulses. Depression was rated using the Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAMD) before and after treatment. Response was defined as a 50% reduction in HAMD score. Patients with HAMD scores < 8 were considered to be in remission. The mean HAMD score for the study group decreased from 21.94 ± 5.12 before treatment to 11.28 ± 4.56 after rTMS (P < 0.001). Following the treatment period, 58.46% of the study group demonstrated significant mood improvement, as indexed by a reduction of more than 50% on the HAMD score. Nineteen of these 38 patients attained remission (HAMD score < 8), while 41.54% of all study patients achieved a partial response. None of the patients had a worsened HAMD score at the end of the treatment. Treatment was generally well tolerated and no serious adverse effects were reported. In this study, rTMS was found to be a safe, well-tolerated treatment, and a useful adjunctive treatment to medications in elderly treatment-resistant depressed patients. This study contributes to the existing evidence on the antidepressant effect of rTMS in the treatment of depression in patients over 60 years of age.
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- "Psychotherapy—There is evidence that psychotherapeutic interventions are effective in treating late-life depression, even in the group of patients with significant medical conditions (Andreescu & Reynolds, 2011). "
ABSTRACT: Late-life depression (LLD) is a frequent complication of the ageing process, occurring in up to 5% of community-dwelling elderly and in a higher proportion of subjects with coexistent medical illnesses. Its presence has been consistently associated with cognitive impairment, greater disability and increased mortality. Approximately half of patients with LLD have evidence of subcortical ischaemic damage in prefrontal circuits revealed by MRI. This might constitute the biological substrate of the cardinal symptoms of depression and of executive dysfunction. An important proportion of patients with LLD do not achieve remission of their depressive symptoms in spite of adequate pharmacological and psychotherapeutic treatment. In addition, a group of LLD patients progress to further impairment and disability in the form of a dementing disorder. There is an imperative need to develop new treatment strategies for LLD. Non-invasive brain stimulation techniques such as repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) are safe and efficacious interventions that might be used in combination with other therapeutic options to improve treatment outcomes. However, there are still questions regarding the optimal way in which rTMS and dTCS should be delivered as well as to the way in which we may identify the subjects who will benefit the most from these interventions.
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