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Depression Causes Older People to Fall Down

Depression Causes Older People to Fall Down

(epharmanews)- Depressed older people are more prone to fall which highlights a complex relationship between mental illness, balance and falling, a new study suggests.

Earlier studies have linked falling in older people to depression. However, whether it is the depression itself or anti-depressants remained undetermined, until this a study appeared earlier last month in Age and Ageing showed that anti-depressants often caused older people to fall down.

“We’ve known that depression and falls are connected in older people for some time, but we were never able to determine whether depression itself or anti-depressants increase the rate of falling”, says Professor Stephen Lord at Neuroscience Research Australia (NeuRA) and colleagues after having studied a population of people 65 years of age and older in Taiwan.

“But anti-depressants are not commonly taken by the people we studied and so for the first time we were able to measure lifestyle factors, rates of depression, and how often people fell without the effect of any depression-related medications”, He added.

This study involved nearly 300 people living in southern Taiwan and not taking anti-depressant medication aged 65–91 who were measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale and underwent balance and mobility testing. They were phone called every month for two years to determine if and when they had fallen.

Researchers found that depression was more common in people that fell compared to people that did not fall: 40% of recurrent fallers, 28% of people that fell once and only 16% of people that did not fall were depressed.

The results of this study mean that health programs around the world designed to prevent falling in older people need to consider mental health in addition to enhancing vision, strength and balance.

“Now we know that depression and falls are interrelated, fall prevention strategies targeting older people need to also assess and treat depression to have the maximum impact”, Lord concluded.

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Prepared by: Hasan Zaytoon

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