Post-stroke depression increases dependency

March 16th, 2011 - 3:57 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, Mar 16 (ANI): Stroke survivors who are depressed may be more likely to lose some of their capability to function normally, a new study has found.

Although as many as a third of those who experience a stroke develop depression, a new study by researchers from the Regenstrief Institute, the schools of health and rehabilitation sciences and of medicine at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and the Richard L. Roudebush VA Medical Center is the first to look whether managing post-stroke depression improves physical functioning.

They researchers report that individuals who remain depressed three months after a stroke are more likely to have decreased functional capabilities than those whose depression was successfully treated.

Functional capabilities include getting dressed, feeding oneself, and accomplishing other tasks. These capabilities increased significantly in those individuals who were treated for depression.

Post-stroke depression appears to be linked to chemical changes in the brain, clinical evidence indicates.

“The relationship between post-stroke depression and recovery of function after a stroke has not been well understood. Previous researchers have looked at both depression and function after stroke but they did not investigate whether identifying and managing depression improved ability to accomplish tasks of daily living and other function related issues,” said study first author Arlene A. Schmid, a Regenstrief Institute investigator, an assistant professor of occupational therapy at the IU School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences and a VA Center of Excellence on Implementing Evidence Based Practice investigator.

The researchers in the new study report that successful depression management led to better functionality that might enable the individual to return to work or more thoroughly enjoy leisure functions while decreasing the caregiver burden.

“Restoring lost function after stroke is the number one reason individuals visit occupational therapists,” said Dr. Schmid.

“Since treating depression helps improve function, occupational therapists should screen for post-stroke depression and, in conjunction with other members of the patient’s health care team, help manage depression.”

The study appears in the March 15, 2011 issue of the journal Neurology. (ANI)

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