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Clinical depression raises risk of death for heart attack patients years after attack
Date:3/3/2008

with higher risk, but minor depression also was associated with a significant increase in mortality risk.

Even with mounting evidence of a link between depression and death in heart attack patients, only about 25 to 30 percent of these patients receive antidepressant drugs or other depression treatments.

That doesn't surprise Carney. His team reported in 2003 in the Journal of the American Medical Association that providing treatment for depression seemed to have little effect on whether patients survived or had a second heart attack. This could be because the treatments don't work for all patients, Carney says, and he suggests if current depression treatments could be improved, survival rates might increase, too.

To this end, his team is studying whether omega-3 fatty acids the fatty acids found in fish oil might improve antidepressant therapies in heart patients. They're giving an antidepressant drug and a special formulation of omega-3 to some heart patients and comparing them to depressed heart patients who receive an antidepressant but no omega-3.

"We have not been satisfied with the effectiveness of standard antidepressants at alleviating depression in this population of patients," Carney says. "We're studying omega-3, because there's preliminary evidence that the fatty acids also might make depression therapies more effective, both in treating depression and in improving heart health."


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Contact: Jim Dryden
jdryden@wustl.edu
314-286-0110
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert

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