Update on geriatric psychiatry

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Author: Helen Lavretsky
Date: June 2009
From: Aging Health(Vol. 5, Issue 3)
Publisher: Future Medicine Ltd.
Document Type: Article
Length: 1,912 words

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Author(s): Helen Lavretsky 1

Presentations covered a broad range of topics relevant for geriatric mental health ranging from late-life psychosis, depression, dementia and cognitive disorders, pain disorders, and substance abuse, to normal and successful aging, and the dilemmas of an inadequate workforce of clinicians and researchers to meet the increasing demands of the rapidly growing population of aging baby boomers.

From the opening, the Presidential Plenary featured keynote speakers were: New York Times health columnist and award-winning author, Jane Brody whose talk was titled 'Get Ready for the Great Beyond: A Practical Primer to Help You and Your Loved Ones Prepare Medically, Legally and Emotionally for the End of Life,' and incoming AAGP President Charles F Reynolds III, presenting the 'Tipping Point: The Future of Psychiatry.'

Key presentations

Research awards

Each year, the association chooses three members for his or her original scientific contributions to the field of geriatric psychiatry and mentorship of the careers of successful contributing junior researchers in the field. Jerome A Yesavage of Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA, and the VA Palo Alto Health Care System, USA was named the 2009 AAGP Distinguished Scientist. Yesavage has greatly advanced the field's understanding of Alzheimer's disease through his study of the neurobiology and psychopharmacology of the disease. He has been a leading investigator of changes in circadian rhythms in Alzheimer's disease and their effects on both sleep regulation and behavioral disturbances, as well as both normal memory functioning and the memory disturbances in Alzheimer's disease. The award ceremony also featured scientific paper presentations by the Member-in-Training award winner, Fayaz A Ibrahim of the State University of New York Downstate, NY, USA. His distinguished research covered 'Successful Aging in Older Adults with Schizophrenia: Prevalence and Associated Factors'. The 2009 Barry Lebowitz Early Career Scientist Award was received by Hiroyuki Uchida of the University of Toronto, Canada, for his work on 'Sensitivity of Older Patients to Antipsychotic Motor Side Effects: A PET Study Examining Potential Mechanisms'.

Geriatric depression treatment & prevention

Depression is an example of a common diagnosis among older persons. Of the approximately 32 million Americans who have reached 65 years of age, approximately five million suffer from depression, resulting in increased disability, general healthcare utilization and risk of suicide. Depression is associated with poorer health outcomes and higher healthcare costs. Those with depression are more likely to be hospitalized and experience almost twice the number of medical visits than those without depression. The cost and number of prescriptions for this group were more than twice those without depression. Older adults also have the highest rate of suicide compared with any other age group. The suicide rate for those 85 years of age and older is twice the national average. More than half of older persons who commit suicide visited their primary care physician in the prior month.

A session covered potential approaches to...

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Gale Document Number: GALE|A222493686