Creating a free account will enable you to subscribe to our daily and weekly email newsletters, as well as customize your reading experience to show only the categories most relevant to you.
Signing up only take a few minutes, so why not give it a try and see what you've been missing out on.
Research led by Jesse C. Stewart, Ph.D., of the School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is the first to find that treatment of depression before any apparent signs of cardiovascular disease can decrease the risk of future heart attacks and strokes by almost half.
"Previous studies we and others have conducted indicate that depression is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease. But past depression treatment studies involving cardiac patients have not shown the anticipated cardiovascular benefits. So we asked ourselves, what if we treated depression before the onset of cardiovascular disease? Could that cut the risk of heart attack and stroke? Our results suggest that the answer is yes," said Dr. Stewart, associate professor of psychology in the School of Science at IUPUI and affiliated scientist of the Indiana University Center for Aging Research.
The researchers followed 235 older, clinically depressed patients who were randomly assigned to standard care or to a collaborative care program involving antidepressants and psychotherapy.
Among the 168 patients with no cardiovascular disease at the start of the study, those who received collaborative care to treat their depression had a 48 percent lower risk of heart attack or stroke over the next 8 years than did patients who received standard care for their depression.
In contrast, collaborative care was not associated with a lower risk of a heart attack or stroke among the 67 patients with preexisting cardiovascular disease.
These findings suggest that depression treatment may need to be initiated before the onset of cardiovascular disease if cardiovascular benefits are desired.
The study, "Effect of Collaborative Care for Depression on Risk of Cardiovascular Events: Data from the IMPACT Randomized Controlled Trial," appears in the January 2014 issue of Psychosomatic Medicine.
"Lifestyle changes -- such as stopping smoking -- and blood pressure and cholesterol medications are important approaches to decreasing risk of heart attacks and strokes. Our findings, if confirmed in a larger clinical trial, could provide an important new approach - depression treatment - to preventing cardiovascular events," said Dr. Stewart.
He and his collaborators are seeking funding to conduct a larger randomized controlled trial to verify that treating depression earlier in the natural history of cardiovascular disease reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Depression affects more than 6.5 million Americans age 65 years or older, according to the National Alliance on Mental Health.
"In the near future, depression treatment may play an important role in reducing disability and death due to cardiovascular disease," said Dr. Stewart.
Co-authors of the new study in addition to Dr. Stewart are biostatistician Anthony Perkins, M.S., of the IU Center for Aging Research, and geriatrician Christopher Callahan, M.D. Dr. Callahan is director of aging research and a research scientist at the Regenstrief Institute, founding director of the IU Center for Aging Research and Cornelius and Yvonne Pettinga Professor in Aging Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine.
This work was supported by the National Institute on Aging (AG031222 and AG024078), part of the National Institutes of Health. The content of the study is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.
Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click 'references' tab above for source.
Visit our Heart Disease category page for the latest news on this subject.
Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. "Earlier depression treatment prevents heart attacks and strokes." Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 5 Feb. 2014. Web.
11 Mar. 2014. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/272171>
Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. (2014, February 5). "Earlier depression treatment prevents heart attacks and strokes." Medical News Today. Retrieved from
Please note: If no author information is provided, the source is cited instead.
If you write about specific medications, operations, or procedures please do not name healthcare professionals by name.
For any corrections of factual information, or to contact our editorial team, please use our feedback form. Please send any medical news or health news press releases to:
Note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. For more information, please read our terms and conditions.
This page was printed from: http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/272171.php
Visit www.medicalnewstoday.com for medical news and health news headlines posted throughout the day, every day.
© 2004-2014 All rights reserved. MNT (logo) is the registered trade mark of MediLexicon International Limited.