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Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation Funds Study Exploring Link between Heart Disease and Depression
Date:12/20/2007

U-M researchers to determine if treating depression improves health of

heart disease patients

DETROIT, Dec. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Studies show that people with heart disease are more likely to suffer from depression than those without heart disease. The link between these two diseases is not yet well understood, but it is known that depression in heart patients is under-recognized and, even when diagnosed, under-treated.

That's why researchers from the University of Michigan Health System's Depression Center and Division of Cardiovascular Medicine are partnering in a pilot study funded by the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation to examine the link between heart disease and depression.

Through a year-long study, the researchers will determine if treating depression improves the health of heart disease patients. They also will develop effective ways to treat depression among heart patients. The study, funded by a $174,800 grant from the foundation, began earlier this month.

"Ultimately, we hope our findings will enable us to treat depression more effectively and improve outcomes for cardiovascular patients with depression," said Kevin Kerber, M.D., clinical assistant professor in the U-M Department of Psychiatry and Depression Center member.

Kerber and Melvyn Rubenfire, M.D., director of preventive cardiology for U-M Health System, will lead the pilot. They will identify and recruit approximately 480 cardiology patient volunteers.

Researchers will monitor how many heart patients in this group become depressed, and when symptoms first appear. They also will assess acceptance and compliance by patients and their doctors with depression monitoring and treatment.

During the first six months of the study, researchers will monitor and measure patient volunteers' moods. They will look for signs of when depression begins. The second half of the study will be dedicated to providing depre
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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan
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