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Children with a history of depression appear to be at an increased risk of showing signs of heart disease as early as their teens, according to research led by a University of South Florida psychologist. The study compared heart disease risk factors-such as smoking, obesity, physical activity level and parental history- among 210 adolescents with histories of clinical depression and 195 of their siblings who never had depression. The researchers also gathered information from 161 unrelated adolescents with no history of depression. The increased risk of heart disease held true even for participants who were no longer experiencing symptoms. To read the full article, please visit Psychosomatic Medicine, February-March 2014.

In a related research study, treating depression early may decrease the risk of future heart attacks and strokes by almost half, finds a study led by a psychologist at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. Researchers followed 235 clinically depressed patients age 60 or older who were randomly assigned standard care, which typically included a prescription for antidepressants from their primary care provider or to a collaborative care program, which typically involved antidepressants and/or brief psychotherapy and was coordinated by a care manager. Of the 168 patients who had no cardiovascular disease at the start of the study, those who received collaborative care to treat their depression had a 48% lower risk of heart attack or stroked over the next eight years than 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 67 patients with pre-exisiting cardiovascular disease. To read the full article, please visit Psychosomatic Medicine, January 2014.

If you have a child with depression and need financial help, please contact Susie Bean Gives at www.susiebean.org. We would love to pay for your child’s services. Let us help you.

Dr. Salek and The Susie Bean Gives Team.