Elderly Volunteers Sought for Depression Study

January 13, 1999

Researchers at the University of Rochester are working to understand what symptoms elderly people with depression actually experience. The results of this new study could help doctors understand what emotions their depressed patients are really feeling, and hence what treatments may work best to help them.

"When patients tell their doctors about symptoms, they usually remember only general impressions and may not make important distinctions between different emotions and different time periods," says Dr. Larry Seidlitz, lead researcher in the study. "Often, their memories are distorted by their current feelings. That simple coloring of memory can mislead physicians when they try to diagnose their patient’s condition."

A team led by Dr. Seidlitz is beginning a study that will record volunteers’ emotions at random times. Each volunteer will be given a pager and paged at random for one week. When paged, the volunteers will record how strongly they are feeling various emotions and symptoms in a special notebook. A control group of non-depressed elderly volunteers will also take part in the study. Volunteers who complete the study will be paid $50.

Anyone of age 60 or older who may be interested in volunteering for the study or would like more information can call Mr. Nathan Franus, the project's coordinator, at 275-7097.

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