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Editor's e-Note
Researchers have concluded that although psychotherapy is effective in treating depression, its efficacy is overstated in scientific literature. Researchers suggest that publication bias accounts for the discrepancy. Inclusion of all raw data from trials can help to reduce such reporting bias and should be incorporated in future studies and analysis, researchers note.

In addition to reading our E-newsletter, be sure to visit Today’s Geriatric Medicine’s website at, where you’ll find news and information that’s relevant and reliable. We welcome your feedback at Follow Today’s Geriatric Medicine on Facebook and Twitter, too.

— Barbara Worthington, editor
e-News Exclusive
Scientific Literature Overstates Psychotherapy’s Effectiveness
in Treating Depression

The scientific literature paints an overly rosy picture of the efficacy of psychological treatments for depression. That is the conclusion of a study published September 30 in the journal PLOS ONE. It is the follow-up to a study published in 2008 that created a considerable stir when it found a comparable publication bias in scientific articles reporting the efficacy of antidepressant drugs.

“This doesn’t mean that psychotherapy doesn’t work. Psychotherapy does work. It just doesn’t work as well as you would think from reading the scientific literature,” says Steven Hollon, the Gertrude Conaway Vanderbilt professor of psychology, who coauthored the study with colleagues from Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU), VU University Amsterdam, and the University of Groningen.

The basic problem arises because clinical studies of the treatments for depression with more positive outcomes are more likely to be published than studies with less favorable results. “It’s like flipping a bunch of coins and only keeping the ones that come up heads,” Hollon says.

The research team identified all the US National Institutes of Health grants awarded to fund clinical trials of psychological treatments for depression from 1972 to 2008. They found that nearly one-quarter of these grants (13 of 55) had not published trial results.

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Tech & Tools
Rosie 4
The Rosie 4 vital signs cart offers RS-232 interface and has manual, automatic, and customizable noninvasive blood pressure measurement modes. It has various ways to input vitals such as respiration rate, pain level, glucose, fluids, and degree of consciousness. The Rosie 4 can store up to 5,000 retrievable measurements and has a three-year warranty. It also features Smart Cuff inflation and deflation and a printer with a time/date stamp. Learn more »

Crest DuraColor Call Cord
Crest Healthcare Supply has debuted the Crest DuraColor Call Cord, which features a neon green pendant for enhanced visibility. The cord is considered a good choice for patients with visual impairments who want additional contrast on the call cord. The cords are for use with ¼-inch phone plug systems and are available in 7-foot and 10-foot lengths. The new cords were created on the same platform as the DuraCall Call Cord. Learn more »
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EuroQol Measures Stroke Outcome
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Exercise Eases Knee Osteoarthritis Temporarily
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Mounting evidence indicates that primary care in older adults’ homes can be more economical than a repeated cycle of emergency department visits and hospital stays, according to an article in The Wall Street Journal.

Study Says 30 Minutes of Exercise a Day Isn’t Enough
An article in The Washington Post suggests that 30 minutes of exercise per day is inadequate to produce significant health benefits, adding that doubling or quadrupling the exercise time is desirable.

Near the End, It’s Best to Be ‘Friended’
Being “unbefriended” can lead to confusion and uncertainty in older adults’ end-of-life treatment choices, according to an article in The New York Times.
Geriatrics Consult With Rosemary Laird, MD
Geriatrics Goes High Tech

How many times have you heard the story of a patient who had fallen and was “found down”—with no witnesses to the fall? The patient has no recollection of the fall. Who knows what happened?

One day last spring, a proactive caregiver showed me how easily a caring family can follow what is happening in the day-to-day life of an elder alone at home. Right in my office as the patient was saying, “Next thing I knew, I was on the ground,” her daughter turned her iPhone screen my way and showed me exactly what had happened. The fall occurred when the patient got tangled up in her bed’s comforter and fell right next to the bed, narrowly missing the chest of drawers but hitting her head soundly on the floor.

The video footage came courtesy of Dropcam. It represents just one of a wide range of technological products and services that are enhancing care for aging loved ones. Certainly there are costs for some families, and in some cases you may question whether a technology impinges on an individual’s privacy or dignity. But in most cases, these devices and services provide added security for elders who value independence and caregivers who value dignified support.

Continue reading »
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