New depression treatment
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New depression treatments favor a tailored
approach and include recommendations for the use of shock therapy and other
alternatives, including exercise when people fail to get relief from drugs.
The guidelines, issued on Friday by the American Psychiatric Association, are
the first update on depression treatment in more than a decade.
"The five-year process of intense review, discussion and thoughtful
revision-making has led us to today's release of new guidelines that we believe
will improve patient care," Dr. Alan Gelenberg, an Arizona-based psychiatrist
who led the group that drafted the guidelines, said in a statement.
"We are hopeful these guidelines will lead to improved lives for many patients."
The panel searched more than 13,000 scientific articles published between 1999
and 2006 to craft the new guidelines.
Among the changes, the researchers recommend:
* Doctors should use rating scales to assess their patients' conditions and
tailor treatment according to the severity of symptoms. They can adjust various
strategies such as medication, healthy behaviors, exercise and therapy.
* For people who repeatedly fail to benefit from drugs, the guidelines recommend
use of electro-convulsive or so-called shock therapy, which has the most
scientific data supporting its use.
* The recommendations also added newer treatments, including transcranial
magnetic stimulation, which uses highly focused, pulsed magnetic fields to
restore function to stimulate brain regions linked with depression.
Privately held Neurotonics Inc's NeuroStar device was approved for this use by
the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2008.
* Researchers also recommend use of vagus nerve stimulation, such as a device
made by Cyberonics Inc, which delivers electrical stimulation to the vagus
nerve, a major nerve linking the brain to internal organs.
* The guidelines also recommend regular exercise, which studies have shown can
reduce depressive symptoms, especially in older adults or those with chronic
* They recommend more frequent use of maintenance drug treatment, especially for
people whose depression is likely to recur. This is especially important for
people who have had three prior episodes of depression or chronic illness.
In a separate report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said
on Thursday that about 9 percent of U.S. adults surveyed in 2006 and 2008 had
current symptoms of depression, including 3.4 percent who had symptoms of major
depression, in which a person reports having five or more depressive symptoms
for at least two weeks.
The survey included more than 235,000 people in 45 states, the District of
Columbia and two U.S. territories. Of these, only 4.8 percent of North Dakota
residents were depressed, compared with 14.8 percent of those in Mississippi.
Overall, depression affects more than 13 million U.S. adults each year and costs
billions of dollars to treat in costs for treatment, loss of productivity,
workers compensation and death.
(Editing by Bill Trott)
Reuters & http://health.yahoo.net/