Depressed with a chronic disease? Many find antidepressants are not working

Scientists are finding more evidence that commonly prescribed antidepressants aren’t effective in people battling both depression and a chronic medical disease, raising a critical question of whether doctors should enact widespread changes in how they treat millions of depressed Americans.

A new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found depressed patients with chronic kidney disease did not benefit from a common antidepressant. The finding follows other research that indicates traditional antidepressants are also ineffective in depressed people with chronic conditions such as asthma and congestive heart failure.

Experts with the O’Donnell Brain Institute say enough evidence now exists to prompt immediate change in how doctors approach depression cases in conjunction with chronic medical diseases.

Full story at Science Daily

Young people with chronic illness more likely to attempt suicide

Young people between the ages of 15 and 30 living with a chronic illness are three times more likely to attempt suicide than their healthy peers, according to a new study from the University of Waterloo.

The study found that chronic conditions — such as asthma, diabetes and Crohn’s disease — increase a young person’s odds of suicidal thoughts by 28 per cent and plans to die by suicide by 134 per cent. Having a chronic condition increases the odds of a suicide attempt by 363 per cent.

“Evidence suggests risk for suicide attempts is highest soon after young people are diagnosed with a chronic illness,” said Mark Ferro, a professor in Waterloo’s Faculty of Applied Health Sciences. “There is a critical window of opportunity for prevention and continued monitoring.”

Full story at Science Daily

Percentage of US children who have chronic health conditions on the rise

The percentage of children with chronic health conditions is on the rise, and new research being presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies 2016 Meeting shows this is especially true among children who live in or near poverty.

Researchers presenting the study abstract, “National Trends in Prevalence and Co-morbid Chronic Conditions among Children with Asthma, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder,” looked at data from the National Survey of Children’s Health data for 2003, 2007, 2011 and 2012 to spot trends surrounding these conditions by sociodemographic characteristics in the United States.

The study found more significant increases in asthma and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) among children living in poverty, as compared to their wealthier counterparts. Poor children with these conditions also were more likely to have two or more additional diseases. Those living in extreme poverty who had asthma and ADHD, for example, were roughly twice as likely to have at least one other chronic medical condition. Some of the more common co-existing conditions included developmental delays, autism, depression or anxiety, behavioral or conduct issues, speech and language problems, epilepsy/seizure disorders and learning disabilities. Among children who had public health insurance, significant increases were seen among all the chronic diseases studied.

Full story of US children with chronic health conditions on the rise at Science Daily