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Did you know... The presence of depressive disorders often adversely affects the course and complicates the treatment of other chronic diseases —a particular concern among older adults given the high prevalence of multiple chronic conditions in this age group.
Source: Chapman DP, Perry GS, Strine TW. The vital link between chronic disease and depressive disorders


Fuqua Center Video

In May of 2015, the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression and the Geriatric Outpatient Clinic moved to 12 Executive Park Drive, N.E., 5th Floor, Atlanta, Georgia 30329 as part of the Emory Brain Health Center.  Click on the following link to learn more about the Brain Health Center and to watch a video about the work of the Fuqua Center

WAGA-TV Feature on Treatment Resistant Depression,

February 20, 2017  Click Here for link to WAGA-TV report on Treatment Resistant Depression, ECT, and an interview with Dr. William McDonald, M.D., J.B.. Fuqua Chair for Late-Life Psychiatry, Emory University School of Medicine.

Tom Johnson: I Suffer from Depression

Click here to watch this powerful video of one man's struggle with depression and his climb out of the darkness.  "I was relieved to learn what it was that was taking me in to this darkness........with medication and talk therapy..... I came up and out".   (NOTE:  Tom Johnson is a well known journalist who once served as the publisher of the Los Angeles Times and later became the President of CNN.  He believes that "you are more than a are more than a position")

Central Hearing Loss May Share Same Mechanism Of Neurodegeneration With Cognitive Decline, Study Indicates.

 Medscape (3/2, Anderson) reported that “central hearing loss may share the same mechanism of neurodegeneration with cognitive decline,” research indicated. The 1,604-participant “study showed that patients with central hearing loss, or central presbycusis, were twice as likely to have mild cognitive impairment (MCI) as those with no hearing loss, but there was no association between age-related hearing loss, or peripheral presbycusis, and cognitive impairment.” The study is scheduled for presentation during the upcoming American Academy of Neurology 2018 Annual Meeting. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Retinopathy May Be Linked To Cognitive Decline, Study Suggests.

 CNN (2/28, Scutti) reports researchers found that “small changes in the blood vessels within our eyes at age 60 can foretell a significant loss of memory over the next couple of decades.” Medscape (2/28, McNamara) reports researchers used “fundus photography, which takes images of the interior surface of the eye, including the retina,” and “found retinopathy was associated with faster cognitive decline over a 20-year period vs no retinopathy.” Some 12,317 older adults were included in the study. The findings were published online in the journal Neurology. HealthDay (2/28, Thompson) also covers the study. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

People Who Follow The DASH Diet May Have A Lower Chance Of Developing Depression, Researchers Say.

 USA Today (2/27, Molina) reports that people who follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet appear to have “a lower chance of developing depression,” researchers found. Included in the study were “964 participants with an average age of 81” who were monitored for depression “annually for an average of six-and-a-half years.” The CBS News (2/27, Welch) website reports the study findings are set for presentation in April at the American Academy of Neurology’s 70th Annual Meeting. Also covering the study are the ABC News (2/27, Kindelan) website, HealthDay (2/27, Preidt) and Medical Daily (2/27, Rabello).(SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Antidepressants Superior To Placebo For Treating Acute Depression In Adults, Meta-Analysis Reveals

 Reuters (2/21, Kelland) reports that a large meta-analysis published online Feb. 21 in The Lancet that “sought to settle a long-standing debate about whether or not” antidepressant medications “really work has found they are indeed effective in relieving acute depression in adults.”TIME (2/21, Sifferlin) reports that after examining data “from 522 randomized controlled trials testing 21 different types of antidepressants,” then also looking at “additional unpublished study data,” investigators “found that every type of antidepressant they studied was more effective at lessening symptoms of depression over time than placebo.”According to MedPage Today (2/21, Monaco), the authors of an accompanying commentary “said the findings are an important contribution to clinical practice, while the initial line of treatment for patients should most likely be one of the medications with the highest efficacy and acceptability.” (SOURCE:APA Headlines)

Simple Walking Tests Can Help Diagnose Different Types Of Dementia, Study Suggests

 On its website, CNN (2/21, Scutti) reports a new study suggests “simple walking tests can accurately diagnose a type of dementia that may sometimes be reversed when identified early and quickly treated.” CNN reports that patients with progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) “tend to fling their legs forward while walking, and when turning, they do so abruptly and uncontrollably.” Meanwhile, patients with idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH) “appear as if their feet are glued to the ground, and some swing their arms in an exaggerated way.” The findings were published in Neurology. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Excessive Alcohol Use May Increase Risk For All Types Of Dementia, Study Suggests.

 CNN (2/20, Lieber) reports a study looking at over 1 million adults released from hospitals in France between 2008 and 2013 suggests excessive alcohol use may increase the risk for all types of dementia, particularly early-onset dementia. Specifically, “researchers found that alcohol-use disorders were diagnosed in 16.5% of the men with dementia and 4% of the women with dementia – over twice as much as in those without dementia for both sexes.” This link “was particularly strong for those with early-onset dementia, diagnosed when the patient is younger than 65.” The findings were published in Lancet Public Health. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

FDA Proposes New Pathway For Alzheimer’s Disease Treatments To Gain Approval

 Bloomberg News (2/15, Edney, Cortez, Langreth) reports the Food and Drug Administration has proposed allowing pharmaceutical companies to test potential treatments for Alzheimer’s disease “on patients years before the disease shows outward signs, and” the agency may “approve the therapies based on subtle biological signals rather than proof they alleviate symptoms.” The agency’s proposal would “open new paths for drugmakers after repeated failures from companies including Pfizer Inc., Eli Lilly & Co. and Merck & Co.” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement, “The brain, in many respects, is the last organ system where many aspects of our understanding of the underlying biology of disease remain uncertain. Symptoms and progression of neurological diseases can also vary significantly across patients, and even within patients, and across organ systems.” (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Alzheimer’s Disease Medicine Being Tested In Clinical Trial

 In a nearly 3,500-word article, TIME (2/15, Park) reports that aducanumab, a drug developed to treat Alzheimer’s disease, is now being tested in a clinical trial with 2,700 people around the world. The article highlights the experience of Peter Wooding, who has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and who is participating in the study. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Women Twice As Likely As Men To Be Depressed, NCHS Data Reveal.

 The NBC News (2/13, Fox) website reports that “new data from the National Center for Health Statistics” find that while “there has not been a significant worsening of depression in the US over the past” 10 years, “women are twice as likely as men to be depressed.” Specifically, the data reveal that “between 2013 and 2016, 5.5 percent of men reported having had symptoms of depression, compared to 10.4 percent of women.” The findings were published online in the CDC’s NCHS Data Brief No. 303. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Childhood Heart Defects May Be Associated With Higher Risk Of Developing Early Onset Dementia, Research Suggests

 Reuters (2/12, Rapaport) reports that research suggests individuals “who survive childhood heart defects may have an increased risk of developing dementia before age 65.” The findings were published online in Circulation. HealthDay (2/12, Preidt) reports that investigators “analyzed the medical records of more than 10,600 people in Denmark born with a heart defect between 1890 and 1982.” MedPage Today (2/12, Lou) reports, “Overall, the Danish congenital heart disease population was at 61% elevated risk of dementia compared with peers without congenital defects.” The data indicated that “they were particularly likely to get early-onset dementia...but more likely to get dementia later on in life as well.” Medscape (2/12, Wendling) and Healio Cardiology Today (2/12, Dobkowski) also cover the story. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

People With Positive Beliefs About Aging May Have A Reduced Risk Of Developing Dementia, Research Suggests.

HealthDay (2/7, Norton) reports that “people with positive beliefs about aging had a nearly 44 percent lower risk of developing dementia over the next four years than those with a dimmer outlook,” researchers concluded after studying some “4,765 older adults.” The findings were published online Feb. 7 in PLOS One. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

TBI May Increase The Risk For Dementia Even Decades Later, Study Suggests.

 HealthDay (1/30, Gordon) reports that a traumatic brain injury (TBI) “may increase the risk for dementia even decades later,” researchers found after examining data on some “3.3 million people aged 50 or older in 2005,” then looking at data on some “136,000 people who were diagnosed with dementia during the study follow-up period,” as well as data on healthy controls. The study revealed not only was “the risk of dementia...about four- to sixfold higher” in the year following a serious head injury, but also that “the odds of dementia were 25 percent higher” up to 30 years after the injury. The findings were published online Jan. 30 in PLOS One. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Finding a better way to spot memory loss, dementia

 WAGA-TV   January 24, 2018  To catch memory loss early, Emory neuropsychologist Dr. Felicia Goldstein says physicians have been using a screening tool during their regular patient exams. It's known as the Mini-Mental Score Exam, or M-M-S-E, and is designed detect signs of mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. Click Here for Link to Article 

Frailty, Dementia May Increase Risk For Surgical Complications Among Older Adults, Review Suggests

 Reuters (1/26, Rapaport) reported that review suggests “older adults may not necessarily be at risk for surgery complications just because of their age, but their risk for serious complications may be at least doubled if they’re frail or suffering from dementia.” Investigators looked at data from 44 studies. The review indicated that while “surgeons often consider age when assessing elderly patients’ odds of postoperative complications, age did not appear to influence the risk.” However, “factors like frailty, dementia, depression and smoking were all tied to a higher risk of complications for older surgical patients.” The findings were published online Jan. 12 in BMC Medicine. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Police Being Trained on How to Recognize and Respond to a Person Who Has Dementia

Click for link to article.

Ketamine May Reduce Active Suicidal Thoughts in Patients With Treatment-Resistant Depression

 Ketamine may be able to rapidly reduce persistent suicidal thoughts in medicated patients with treatment-resistant depression, according to a small study published online in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. The findings suggest that ketamine may offer an alternative for stabilizing people in emergency situations. Previous work has shown that ketamine can provide rapid relief of depressive symptoms and lower suicidal ideation scores in patients with both unipolar and bipolar depression. This study is the first to exclusively enroll patients with active suicidal ideation (a score of 3 or higher on the Columbia Suicide Severity Rating Scale). Fourteen patients with major depressive disorder recruited for the presence of current, stable (three months or more) suicidal thoughts received open-label ketamine infusions over three weeks (0.5 mg/kg over 45 minutes for the first three infusions; 0.75 mg/kg over 45 minutes for the last three). All the patients were taking antidepressants at a dose that was stable for at least 4 weeks prior to enrollment. Explicit suicidal ideation scores (using scales such as the C-SSRS) and implicit scores (using the Implicit Association Test which measures overall attitudes and beliefs) were assessed four hours after each infusion.As Dawn Ionescu, M.D., and colleagues reported, there was a consistent decrease in suicidal scores during the three week acute phase, with seven of the 14 patients achieving remission of their ideation (a C-SSRS score of 0) by the final infusion; during a naturalistic follow-up three months later, two of these seven patients were still free of suicidal thoughts. In addition, IAT scores went up, suggesting a more positive outlook on life.“Given the length (three months or more) of participants’ ongoing suicidal ideation and the lack of currently available antisuicidal agents, this steady decrease in suicidal ideation within three weeks is noteworthy,” the authors wrote.Because there were no control groups, the authors could not be sure if multiple infusions were providing any more benefit than a single infusion, nor could they rule out that ketamine was only augmenting antidepressant action rather than acting on its own. They concluded, “Larger controlled studies (including more serious/acute patients in the emergency room) are necessary to study ketamine’s antisuicidal effects and the relationship between antisuicidal and antidepressant effects.For related information, see the American Journal of Psychiatry article “Ketamine and Other NMDA Antagonists: Early Clinical Trials and Possible Mechanisms in Depression” and the Psychiatric News article “APA Task Force to Address ‘What’s Next?’ for Ketamine.” (SOURCE: APA Alert May 13, 2016)

Emory Magazine, Autumn 2015

Click here to read about the work being done by Emory researchers as they seek ways to help make the lives of those who are living longer better.  Page 24 includes information about the work being done by Dr. William M. McDonald, J.B. Fuqua Chair for Lte-Life Depression, whose research specializes in neuro-modulation therapies for elderly patients.

Charlee Lambert, a vibrant and active 92 year old, talks with William M. McDonald, MD, J.B. Fuqua Chair for Late-Life Depression and Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University

When Charlee, as she likes to be called, found herself divorced in her 60s after being a corporate wife and mother to six (6) children,  she asked herself, “is this all there is?” and decided to “make an end run” reinventing herself as a playwright and storyteller.  “It was a hard time of life ….telling my story got rid of a lot of things that were negative.”   To help support herself, she opened her home to boarders, something she continues to this day although now she does it as a way to stay active and around people.   “I’ve got 4 men living with me” she chuckles and credits them with her being sure to “comb my hair before coming out of my room each day.” Charlee says the keys to aging well include “being engaged, live your life with passion, and don’t let age get in the way.”  Her three (3) prong prescription for aging,   (1) stay adaptable, (2) have friends of all ages, and (3) have fun, have served her well.  Click here to watch the video 
NOTE:  Charlee Lambert died on November 4, 2015, a little over 10 months after this video was recorded. After watching the video, Charlee sent us the the following email: "I thought you did a great job on the video.  Lots of people have seen it and my family loves it.  i feel like I have been to my own Memorial Service."  Charlee touched many people with her engaging smile and enjoyable stories and lived life following her motto of aging gracefully.

5 Powerful Benefits to Pro-Aging Thinking

CNN January 6, 2015  "The way you perceive aging can actually influence how you age. Aging, like many aspects of life, is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Positive and negative attitudes can affect your health behaviorally, psychologically and even biologically. Being "pro-aging," or satisfied with your own aging, can make you adopt healthier behaviors, feel in control of how you age and even heighten your immune system. Being "anti-aging," or perceiving aging negatively, can do the opposite."  Click Here to Read the Artcile in Full

Helen Mayberg Delivers the Distinguished Faculty Lecture on "Rethinking Depression and its Treatment: Insights from Studies of Deep Brain Stimulation,"

 On Tuesday, February 4, 2014, Dr. Helen Mayberg delivered the Distinguished Faculty Lecture on "Rethinking Depression and its Treatment: Insights from Studies of Deep Brain Stimulation," sponsored by the Emory University Faculty Council. Mayberg is professor of psychiatry, neurology, and radiology, and holds the Dorothy C. Fuqua Chair in Psychiatric Neuroimaging and Therapeutics.  Click here for a link to the lecture.

Treating Depression with Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT)

 Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT) is an effective treatment for severe depression.  Click on the following links to watch a video on ECT from the January 25, 2012 episode of "The Dr. Oz Show".

Community Gardens: Where Seniors Cultivate Food and Friendships

Click on the following link to read how community gardens in Athens, Georgia are helping older adults in the area sustain good mental and physical 

The New York Times’s, Jane Brody Explores “Staying Independent in Old Age, With a Little Help

 In this fascinating article on remaining in one’s home as long as possible, Elinor Ginzler, director of the Cahnmann Center for Supportive Services at the Jewish Council for the Aging in Rockville, Md., writes that “the ability to age in place is greatly determined by the physical design and accessibility of a home, as well as community features like the availability of nearby services and amenities, affordable housing and transportation options.” Read the full article here.

Skydiving at 82

Click Here to watch the incredible story of 82 year old sky diver Dilys Price.

Link to NPR Article - 8 Ways You Can Survive - And Thrive In - Midlife

 Click Here for a link to an article from NPR outlining secrets to midlife happiness

Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association Honors J. Rex Fuqua with the Distinguished Service Award at their 2011 Summer CME Meeting

 J. Rex Fuqua was recognized by the Georgia Psychiatric Physicians Association at the 2011 Summer CME Meeting for his outstanding efforts to positively impact the mental health of Georgians through the "Common Ground" initiative.

 J. Rex Fuqua is a businessman who understands community service and mental health.  Rex is an accomplished entrepreneur and Chairman and CEO of Fuqua Capital Corporation.  He has been extraordinarily successful in business, but to his community he is known as a leader in mental health.  Rex has been a determined advocate for the mentally ill in Georgia and nationally for two decades.  He has provided both leadership and a vision in developing novel treatments particularly in children and adolescents and promoting legislation to provide a safety net for patients with severe and persistent mental illness.

In Georgia, Rex funded W. Edward Craighead as the first J. Rex Fuqua Professor at Emory University.  Dr. Craighead started the Childhood and Adolescent Mood Disorders Program to provide therapy to children at risk for recurrent mood disorders.  He has also developed international research with investigators in Reykjavik, Iceland to understand the genesis of childhood mood disorders in the areas of psychological, genetic, environmental and neurobiological components of mood disorders. 

Rex has also been a guiding force on the boards of both the Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression and Skyland Trail and his service on these boards is a level of his commitment to the mental health of Georgians of all ages and a testament to his leadership.  He is also a member of the Board of Councilors at Emory University's Carter Center and in that role has promoted legislation to provide for the most disadvantaged patients with mental illness.

On a national level, Rex has convened international experts to Skyland Trail to develop guidelines for the treatment of the severe and persistently mentally ill.  He has also been a leader in the National Network of Depression Centers, a network of leading depression centers and academic medical centers, and gave one of the keynote addresses at their recent national conference.

Rex is a trustee emeritus of Duke University, a member of the Board of Visitors of The Fuqua School of Business. He is a trustee and former chairman of the Atlanta Botanical Garden. He serves on the Board of the George West Mental Health Foundation and the Sheridan Arts Foundation. He is an emeritus member of the Board of Overseers of the Terry College of Business at the University of Georgia.


 One in four people over the age of 65 suffers from depression, yet often they don’t realize what is wrong.  Symptoms of depression in older adults are frequently attributed to memory problems or the aging process.  The mission of Emory's Fuqua Center for Late-Life Depression is to help people understand that depression is NOT a normal part of aging.  Click here to read more.

Click on the link to read about MEDCottage, a backyard living structure for an aging relative


Cobb Senior Services, in a monthly broadcast of Senior Focus, features issues faced by older adults. Featured in March are: Dr. Monica Parker and Eve Byrd. The program airs on Cobb's Government Access Chanel 23: Fridays-6 pm, Sat & Sun-1:30 pm, Mon-Noon.         

WATCH THE VIDEO: You may also see the informative discussion by clicking this link.

OLDER AMERICANS BEHAVIORAL HEALTH: Issue Brief 2: Alcohol Misuse and Abuse Prevention

Alcohol use problems in the older adult population often go unrecognized. Click on the following link to read more about this issue.

Men Recovering From Hip Surgery May Experience More Cognitive Difficulties, Higher Mortality Within First 22 Days Compared With Women, Study Suggests

 MedPage Today (2/8, Bachert) reports that research indicated “men who were recovering from hip surgery often experienced more cognitive difficulties and higher mortality within the first 22 days compared with women.” The study, which included 166 men and 168 women, was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.(SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Rapid Increase in Opioid Dose Increases Risk of New-Onset Depression

Click Here for Link to Article

Postmenopausal Anxiety Linked to Severe Impairment in Quality of Life

Click Here for Link to Article (SOURCE: Psychiatry Advisor)

Depression Often Untreated in Dialysis Patients

 Click Here for Link to Psychiatry Advisor Article

Aging In Place Poses Challenges For Many US Seniors.

 On its front page, the Wall Street Journal (9/26, A1, Levitz, Subscription Publication) reported in a 2,100-word article on the difficulties faced by many US seniors who choose to age in place in their own homes because they want to or simply cannot afford nursing homes or assisted living options. Aging in place is often difficult for seniors without families or friends, who live in places with a scarcity of supportive services to help them manage their day-to-day needs, and who have limited incomes. Meanwhile, on the front of its New York section, the New York Times (9/27, MB1, Leland, Subscription Publication) reported in a 2,470-word piece that last year, researchers at the “RAND Corporation estimated...that Americans spend 30 billion hours annually caring for older relatives and friends, with most of them juggling caregiving along with jobs, families and other demands on their time.” Seniors over the age of 85 are “among the fastest-growing age groups” in New York City, where “pressures” on family caregivers “have grown accordingly,” along with “higher rates of depression, stress, high blood pressure and heart disease. (SOURCE: APA Headlines)

Brain Activity Lowers Rate of Age-Related Mental Decline

 Click Here to Read Article in Psychiatry Advisor


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