A really interesting development was discussed on the BBC this week that concerns depression. In the UK, it is believed that one in four older people have symptoms of depression that require treatment, and that fewer than one in six older people with depression discuss their symptoms with their GP. Out of this group, only half receive adequate treatment. This is really important because untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide among older people, with men living alone at particularly high risk (Royal College of GP’s, 2011). So any new developments in this field have the potential not only to improve the lives of older people, but can actually save lives!
As the BBC report, it’s not very often we get to talk about a revolution in understanding and treating depression and yet now doctors are talking about new work, some of which is taking in place in Glasgow being one of the strongest discoveries in psychiatry for the last 20 years.
The focus of this new line of enquiry is on the idea that an errant immune system causing inflammation in the body, is altering mood sufficiently to trigger clinical depression. If you consider the last time you had a cold, you will appreciate that there is probably a link, but this is taking that thought a big step further.
For more information about this work you can read about it at
Another way to find out more is to listen to the BBC Radio 4 documentary “The Inflamed Mind” which you can catch at
If you want to know a bit more about Depression in Older Adults, there is a really useful introductory leaflet available at: