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A. Testing Different Therapies for a Hard-to-Treat Type of Depression

Narrator: This is Science Today. There's a type of depression in late life called major depression with executive dysfunction. Older people who suffer from this are significantly depressed and have trouble making decisions. Patricia Arean, a psychiatrist at the University of California, San Francisco, says these patients don't typically respond well to antidepressants.

Arean: If you look at who responds and who doesn't, the people who tend not to respond or who make a partial response are people with this presentation.

Narrator: Arean and her colleagues are testing the effectiveness of two types of psychotherapy to treat these patients - problem solving and supportive therapy.

Arean: We have funding from the National Institute of Mental Health for five years to basically screen and assess older patients, people over the age of 65, who have depression. They have a 50-50 chance of ending up getting supportive therapy or problem solving therapy. They get twelve weeks of therapy and then we follow them for six months after treatment to see what their outcomes are like.

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