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Depression Cause for Concern in Heart Disease Patients

Narrator:        This is Science Today. Patients with heart disease who are depressed are more likely to smoke, not exercise and incorrectly take their medications. These poor health habits put them at greater risk for stroke, heart failure, heart attack and death. Dr. Mary Whooley of the University of California, San Francisco is a researcher at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center and conducted a five-year study of over one thousand heart patients.

Whooley:        Our original aim in the Heart and Soul study was to understand the mind-body connection and more specifically, the association between depression and cardiovascular disease. So, does having a positive attitude really prolong your life or the opposite? Does feeling depressed make you die sooner?

Narrator:        Whooley says that treating depression alone has not been shown to improve the health outcomes in these patients, so instead she recommends helping these patients with their health behaviors.

Whooley:        Take your medicines as prescribed, stop smoking, lose weight, exercise, keep your cholesterol under control and take your blood pressure medicines.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.