In the recent PG article "Mind Adjustment: Helping Seniors Cope with Pain" (June 27), Judith Graham of Kaiser Health News outlines the important relationship between chronic pain and depression that is currently being studied here in Pittsburgh. In the past 15 years, we have learned a great deal about many risk factors for depression in later life such that we can now turn our attention to search for ways to prevent depression.
Ben Franklin (whom we know suffered from the chronic pain of gout) coined the phrase "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." It is fitting that we move in the direction of anticipating those factors such as chronic pain that can trigger depression in later life and prevent it as much as possible. Fortunately for the citizens of Pittsburgh, research aimed at helping older persons to maintain active, fulfilling lives by preventing depression is available for participation in one or more ongoing studies that seek such answers.
For those who would like to learn more about participating without obligation, you can call 412-246-6006 For additional reading, check out the recently published book based on what we have learned from research carried out in Pittsburgh thus far. It is titled "Depression and Anxiety in Later Life" (Johns Hopkins Press Health Book).
MARK D. MILLER, M.D.
The writer specializes in geriatric psychiatry at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic.