April 26, 2007 / 4:58 PM / 13 years ago

Depression treatment doesn't help diabetes control

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Many people with diabetes also feel depressed, which is thought to interfere with their ability to regulate their blood sugar levels well. However, improvements in depressive symptoms don’t lead to better control of glucose levels, according to a new report.

“While clinical depression should be treated in all patients, treating depressed mood (non-clinical depression) in patients with type 2 diabetes as a strategy to improve glycemic control is not effective,” Dr. Richard S. Surwit from Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina told Reuters Health.

Surwit and associates investigated whether 16 weeks of cognitive behavior therapy would affect control of blood glucose levels in 28 patients with type 1 diabetes and 62 with type 2 diabetes.

Over a one-year period, changes in depression symptoms did not have an effect on A1c levels — a measure of glucose levels over the long term — or fasting blood glucose levels, regardless of the type of diabetes, the researchers report in the medical journal Psychosomatic Medicine.

Even among the subgroup of 17 patients with clinical depression, the researchers note, there was no evidence of an improvement in HbA1c levels as depression improved.

The results were “somewhat of a surprise,” Surwit said. However, he and his associates point out, “Thus far, the evidence of a link between depressive symptoms and glycemic control has been modest at best, and our current findings raise further doubts about this hypothesized relationship.”

SOURCE: Psychosomatic Medicine, April 2007.

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