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Antidepressant slows patient decline.

The drug Zoloft, commonly used for depression, also improves quality of life and alleviates disruption in daily activities for the one-quarter of Alzheimer's patients who also suffer from major depression, maintain researchers at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Md. However, the drug does not improve patients' cognitive abilities, such as thinking remembering, and learning, which are often impaired in Alzheimer's disease cases.

"Depression in Alzheimer's patients, and even Alzheimer's disease itself, often goes undiagnosed, in part because doctors feel they have little to offer in the form of treatment. This study shows that a simple treatment for depression improves the quality of life and seems to slow the functional decline of Alzheimer's disease," conveys Constantine Lyketsos, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences.

Major depression affects 25% of patients with Alzheimer's disease. When combined with the cognitive impairment typical of the debilitating ailment, depression is extremely disabling and can lead to suicide. "This simple and safe treatment for depression has tremendous potential for improving the quality of life for both Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers," indicates Lyketsos.

The results show that 84% of those receiving Zoloft were influenced positively. The researchers found that treating depression was accompanied by lessened behavioral disturbances and improved activities of daily living as well.
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Title Annotation:Alzheimer's Disease
Publication:USA Today (Magazine)
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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