ALLERGY, RESPIRATORY
Air Quality Better in Northeast, Midwest
Using Music and Sports to Improve Kids' Asthma
Air Pollution May Raise Blood Pressure
ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE
Acupuncture May Trigger Natural Painkiller
Ginkgo No Shield Against Alzheimer's
Green Tea May Help Brain Cope With Sleep Disorders
ANIMAL CARE
Rest Easy. When It Comes to Swine Flu, Your Pet Is Safe
Separation Anxiety, Canine-Style
Animals Respond to Acupuncture's Healing Touch
BONES & JOINTS
Many Americans Fall Short on Their Vitamin D
Tips to Ease an Aching Back
Low Vitamin D Raises Women's Hip Fracture Risk
CANCER
HPV Vaccine Has Higher Allergic Reaction Rate
Smokeout '08: The Perfect Time to Quit
Multiple Screening Strategy Boosts Cervical Cancer Detection
CAREGIVING
Tainted China Formula Caused High Rate of Kidney Stones in Kids
Preventing Shaken Baby Syndrome
Bariatric Surgery Centers Don't Deliver Better Outcomes
CIRCULATORY SYSTEM
Smog Tougher on the Obese
Bad Marriages Harder on Women's Health
Mercury in Fish Linked to High Blood Pressure
COSMETIC
Wrinkle Fillers Need Better Label Warnings: FDA Panel
Science May Banish Bad Hair Days
Gum Chewing May Cut Craving for Snacks
DENTAL, ORAL
Gum Care Helps Control Type 2 Diabetes and Its Complications
Acid Drinks Blamed for Increase in Tooth Erosion
Hormones May Be to Blame for Women's Cavity Rates
DIABETES
Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate
Arthritis Hits More Than Half of Diabetics
Vitamin K Slows Insulin Resistance in Older Men
DIET, NUTRITION
Most Fast-Food French Fries Cooked in Unhealthiest Oil
TV Food Ads Promote Bad Diets
B Vitamins Might Lower Stroke Risk
DISABILITIES
Review Finds Marijuana May Help MS Patients
Could Your Cell Phone Help Shield You From Alzheimer's?
ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH
Rainy Areas in U.S. Show Higher Autism Rates
Topical Drugs May Pollute Waterways
Walkable Neighborhoods Keep the Pounds Off
EYE CARE, VISION
Nearly 18 Million Will Have Macular Degeneration by 2050
Clues Found to Brain Mechanism Behind Migraines
Kids Think Glasses Make Others Look Smart, Honest
FITNESS
Exercise May Prevent Prostate Cancer: Study Shows
Being Active an Hour a Day Puts Brakes on Weight Gain
Exercise Cuts Lung Cancer Risk in Ex-Smokers by 45%
GASTROINTESTINAL PROBLEMS
HRT Use Raises Risk of Stomach Trouble
New Yogurt May Ease Stomach Ulcers
New Guidelines Issued for Management of IBS
GENERAL HEALTH
Vitamin E Helps Treat Common Liver Disease
Most Women Struggle With Rising Health Care Costs
Have Fun This Summer, But DO Be Careful
HEAD & NECK
Ski Helmets Encouraged for All
Many Children Will Outgrow Headaches
Zen May Thicken Brain, Thwart Pain
HEALTH & TECHNOLOGY
The Internet Is Becoming One-Stop Shopping for Health Help
Subway Defibrillators Save Lives
'Comfort Dogs' Come to Emotional Rescue
HEARING
Summer Sounds Can Lead to Hearing Loss
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
HEART & CARDIOVASCULAR
Omega-6 Fatty Acids Can Be Good for You
After a Stroke, Light Exercise Gets Hands, Arms Working Again
Arteries Age Twice as Fast in Smokers
INFECTIOUS DISEASE
Chinese 'Devil Dung' Plant Could Be a Swine Flu Fighter
Surgical Masks Could Prevent Flu, Maybe
Swine Flu Now Reported in All 50 States
INFERTILITY
Obesity May Affect Fertility in Young Womene
KID'S HEALTH
Babies Cared For In Others Homes Might Become Heavy Toddlers
Plastics Chemical Tied to Aggression in Young Girls
Frequent Feedings May Be Making Babies Fat
MEN'S HEALTH
Low Vitamin D Levels May Boost Men's Heart Attack Risk
Physical Activity May Prolong Survival After Colon Cancer
Noise Hurts Men's Hearing More, Study Shows
MENTAL HEALTH
Heal Your Life® Tips for Living Well
The Acne Drug Accutane More Than Doubles Depression Risk
Estrogen May Help Men's Hearts
PAIN
Tai Chi May Help Ease Fibromyalgia
Acupuncture, Real or Fake, Eases Back Pain
'Cell Phone Elbow' -- A New Ill for the Wired Age
PHYSICAL THERAPY
PREGNANCY
Expectant Mom's Exercise Keeps Newborn's Birth Weight Down
For Baby and Mom Alike, Breast-Feeding May Be Best
Pre-Pregnancy Weight Linked to Babies' Heart Problems
SENIORS
For Older Walkers, Faster Is Better
Common Antioxidant Might Slow Parkinson's
15-Point Test Gauges Alzheimer's Risk
SEXUAL HEALTH
SLEEP DISORDERS
6 to 8 Hours of Shut-Eye Is Optimal for Health
Lose Weight, Sleep Apnea May Improve
Better Sleep, Grades Seem to Go Up
WOMEN'S HEALTH
Natural Childbirth Moms More Attuned to Babies' Cry
Flame-Retardant Chemical Linked to Conception Problems
Most Women With Osteoporosis Unaware of Raised Fracture Risk
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Older Diabetics With Depression Face Higher Death Rate

FRIDAY, Oct. 10 (HealthDay News) -- In a group of Medicare beneficiaries who have diabetes, being depressed was associated with a higher death rate, according to a new study.

Publishing in the October issue of the Journal of General Internal Medicine, researchers from the University of Washington tracked 10,704 Medicare beneficiaries (average age of 75.6 years) who had diabetes and were enrolled in a disease management program in Florida. The participants' depression status was assessed by physician diagnosis, patient reports of antidepressant use, and answers to a brief screening test.

The researchers followed the participants for two years and recorded any deaths and causes of death that took place during that time.

The participants who had both diabetes and depression had an approximately 36 percent to 38 percent increased risk of dying from any cause. A total of 12.1 percent of these participants died during the study, compared with 10.4 percent of the participants without depression.

Participants who were treated with antidepressant medications in the year prior to the study had a 24 percent increased risk of death, compared to the participants who were not depressed. The study's authors suspect that the participants treated with antidepressants may have had more severe depression than other mildly depressed participants.

There was no difference in the incidence of cardiovascular or cerebrovascular events between the participants who took antidepressants and those who were not depressed.

"Rates of mortality from vascular disease may be decreasing in recent years among patients with diabetes due to more aggressive treatment of high blood pressure, cholesterol, and glucose levels, as well as widespread use of preventative medications such as aspirin and beta blockers," the researchers surmised.

The study's authors said there were several reasons why depression was associated with increased risk of death among the participants in their study.

First, depression has been associated with poor self-care and increased risk of poor health habits such as smoking and overeating. And, depression has been linked with nervous system disorders, endocrine system disorders, and inflammatory markers.

The authors noted that their study has certain limitations. The participants were selected from only one area of the United States, and the follow-up period was relatively short. And the study did not collect information on education, income, weight, smoking habits, physical activity, or compliance in taking medications.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more about depression.



-- Krisha McCoy



SOURCE: University of Washington Health Sciences and UW Medicine, news release, Sept. 30, 2008

Last Updated: Oct. 10, 2008

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