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Depression and Fall Risk in the Elderly

Antonio Bullon

Experienced in the psychiatric care of geriatric populations, Antonio Bullon, MD, serves as an attending psychiatrist at Mount Auburn Hospital in Cambridge, Massachusetts. There, Dr. Antonio Bullon diagnoses and treats elderly individuals with depression and other neuropsychiatric conditions.

According to a study recently published in the journal Social Science & Medicine, depression may contribute to an increase in falls among elderly individuals. Led by researcher Dr. Geoffrey Hoffman of the University of Michigan, the study investigated fall records of more than 7,200 individuals aged 65 and above. All subjects had participated in the National Health and Retirement Study conducted from 2006 to 2010.
The study found that an increase in symptoms of depression, which includes low mood and heightened anxiety, can increase the risk of falls by 30 percent across a two-year period. Data also showed that the introduction of targeted psychiatric medication reduced the correlation between depression and fall risk. Researchers noted that such interventions warranted consideration of various other patient-specific factors and should be in place as part of comprehensive fall prevention awareness, which includes patient monitoring.

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