Shingles vaccine offers 'poor protection' for seniors with untreated depression, study finds

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Seniors who are depressed may be at higher risk for shingles, even if they are vaccinated. This is according to research published recently in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

University of California-Los Angeles researchers followed 92 study participants for two years. All were 60 or older and had been vaccinated for shingles. Some had a major depressive disorder (MDD) and were being treated for it, some had an MDD but were not receiving treatment, and some did not have a diagnosed MDD.

The participants with untreated depression were “poorly protected” from shingles even though they were vaccinated, said lead research Michael Irwin, M.D. The immune response was “normalized” among the other two groups.

The study has implications for other types of vaccines, the researchers noted. For example, diagnosing and treating depression may improve seniors' responses to the influenza vaccine.

Another recent study linked depression in older women with increased risk for diabetes, obesity and heart attack.

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