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Severe deep white matter lesions and outcome in elderly patients with major depressive disorder: Follow up study

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John O'Brien



Objective: To determine the difference in outcome among elderly people with major depression who do and do not have severe white matter lesions on magnetic resonance imaging. Design: Follow up study. Setting: Two psychiatric and two general hospitals in Melbourne, Australia. Subjects: 60 depressed subjects aged over 55 referred to hospital psychiatric services with major depressive disorder meeting American Psychiatric Association (DSM-IIIR)criteria. Main outcome measure: Proportion with good outcome as determined by full recovery from initial illness and no evidence of depressive relapse or cognitive decline during follow up among those with and without lesions. Results: Mean (SD) follow up was 31.9 (9.9) months. Survival analysis showed a significant effect of severe lesions on time to poor outcome (P = 0.04), with median survival 136 days in those with severe lesions compared with 315 days in those without. Conclusion: Severe white matter change on magnetic resonance imaging is associated with poor outcome in elderly depressed subjects.

Publication metadata

Author(s): O'Brien J, Ames D, Chiu E, Schweitzer I, Desmond P, Tress B

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: British Medical Journal

Year: 1998

Volume: 317

Issue: 7164

Pages: 982-984

Print publication date: 10/10/1998

Date deposited: 22/11/2010

ISSN (print): 0959-8138

ISSN (electronic): 1756-1833

Publisher: BMJ Group


PubMed id: 9765166