Older women more prone to becoming and staying depressed than older men

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Washington, Feb 5 : A new study by researchers at the Yale niversity School of Medicine has found that older women are more ikely to become and remain depressed than their male ounterparts.

However, they are less likely to die while depressed than men, tates the study that was based on an evaluation of 754 ndividuals age 70 and older (average age 78.4).

Severe depression affects approximately 1 to 2 percent of older dults, but as much of 20 percent experience its symptoms.

The study started in 1998, and follow-up assessments were carried ut every 18 months. During the follow-ups, volunteers had to ive demographic information, take cognitive tests and report any edical conditions.

They also were screened for symptoms of depression-such as lack f appetite, feeling sad or sleep problems-during the previous eek.

Over the course of the study, 269 (35.7 percent) of the articipants were depressed at some point. Of those, 48 (17.8 ercent) remained depressed during two consecutive time periods, 0 (11.2 percent) at three time points, 17 (6.3 percent) at four oints and 12 (4.5 percent) at all five.

The researchers then found that women were more likely than men o report that they were depressed at each 18-month follow-up.

"Adjusting for other demographic characteristics, women had a igher likelihood of transitioning from non-depressed to epressed and a lower likelihood of transitioning from depressed o non-depressed or death," the authors stated.

The findings were consistent over the four time intervals. The indings had researchers surprised, as women are more likely to eceive medications or other treatment for depression.

The study was led by Lisa C. Barry, Ph.D., M.P.H., and appears in he February issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, one of the AMA/Archives journals.

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