Published on December 18, 2009 at 4:02 AM
In their analysis, the researchers concluded the "number needed to treat," an epidemiological measure used in determining the effectiveness of a medical intervention, was five. This means the fully effective preventive treatment of five individuals presenting the indicators would prevent one new case of major depression.
In an editorial in the journal, Warren D. Taylor, M.D., associate professor of Psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center, agreed the number needed to treat was low and indicated cost effectiveness.
"Given the complications of depression in an elderly population, a preventive approach for this at-risk population may be quite important to not only prevent psychological suffering but to also avoid the deleterious effects of depression on comorbid medical illness," Taylor wrote.
The researchers concluded "the present study may inform current clinical practice by fostering early detection and intervention critical to improving patient outcomes for depression."
Source: University of Rochester Medical Center