What We’re Reading: Depression, Diabetes, and the Elderly

In people with diabetes, effectively treating depression can help both enhance quality of life and improve blood glucose control. Now, new research from the University of Pennsylvania indicates that in elderly people with diabetes, treating depression may have an added benefit: A potentially prolonged life.

As reported by Medscape, the study included nearly 600 people who had been diagnosed with major depression and assigned to either an intervention group or a usual-care group. The intervention group had access to trained depression care managers, who provided therapy, supplied doctors with treatment recommendations, and monitored the status of study participants. The usual-care group received customary care from a doctor. After five years, 110 people had died. Among people in the study who had diabetes, those who were in the intervention group were about half as likely to have died during the five-year follow-up period as those in the usual-care group.


As noted by Tara Parker-Pope on The New York Times’s health blog, Well, access to depression management care did not affect the rate of death of study participants who did not have diabetes.

You can read the full study report at the Web site of the journal Diabetes Care.

This blog entry was written by Assistant Editor Diane Fennell.