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Peculiarities of geriatric psychiatry: a focus on aging and depression.

Authors
  • Laks, Jerson
  • Engelhardt, Eliasz
Type
Published Article
Journal
CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics
Publisher
Wiley (Blackwell Publishing)
Publication Date
Dec 01, 2010
Volume
16
Issue
6
Pages
374–379
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1755-5949.2010.00196.x
PMID: 20875046
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

There is a debate on whether Geriatric Psychiatry stands for itself as a discrete specialty or whether it is an extension of clinical Geriatrics, Neurology, and Psychiatry. This review aims to outline some recent data and possible approaches to define peculiarities of Geriatric Psychiatry, focusing on certain characteristics that define the aging brain. Geriatric depression is discussed taking into consideration some data from translational research. The brain aging process is not uniform. Frontal areas show marked impairment in inhibiting irrelevant information in working memory as they age, and the recruitment of these areas occur differently than in young subjects. Executive functions also change in normal elderly. Geriatric depression is a general definition of a multidimensional disorder with multiple risk factors. Dysexecutive syndrome is considered as a key to the neuropsychology of geriatric depression, correlated with functional impairment in late life. Late-onset depression has a higher load of comordibity, of cerebrovascular disease, and of some genetic factors that may be different from early onset depression. Also, there are at least four clusters of treatment outcomes that are common in geriatric depression, which mirror the neuropsychological and clinical profiles. Research and practice in Geriatric Psychiatry should focus on the interaction of various dimensions and risk factors rather than on attempting to find a single cause to the disorders. Some answers may be found in comorbidity issues, in white matter lesions, which are more common in the elderly, and in genetic factors that impact on the aging process.

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