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UA, Banner Alzheimer's To Study Depression And Dementia In Older Adults

There’s a high prevalence of depression among people with dementia. Now researchers at the University of Arizona and Banner Alzheimer’s Institute have received a grant to study older adults with both conditions.

Clinicians have known there’s a link between depression and dementia. On top of that, both conditions have similar symptoms, including loss of interest and difficulty concentrating.

But no study has evaluated the appropriateness of certain treatments. Dr. Sandipan Bhattacharjee received a grant of more than $153,000 to look at this issue. 

"The first aim of the study is to look at the use, the extent of use of inappropriate antidepressants among older adults with dementia and depression and what are the factors that are predicting this inappropriate medication use," Bhattacharjee said.

Bhattacharjee said the study will also look at the inappropriate use of certain antidepressants.

"Using that information we’ll be able to swing some form of interventions to say that these are the areas that we need to target in terms of improving or reducing or minimizing this inappropriate antidepressant use," he said.

Bhattacharjee said Tricyclic antidepressants are sometimes used to treat people with depression, but are not recommended for people with dementia.

Bhatacharjee will use Medicare claims data for adults age 65 and older who were diagnosed with dementia and depression.

Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.