Researchers study link between asthma and depression in New Yorkers over 60

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MORRIS PARK -

There is a first-of-its-kind research study in Morris Park where physicians are examining the relationship between asthma rates, disease control and depression in older New Yorkers.

Asthma death rates in the Bronx are three times higher than the rest of the country, according to an Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems report from last year.

Dr. Jonathan Feldman, associate professor of pediatrics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, is the principle investigator on a new research grant to study the relationship between asthma rates, and depression in people 60 and older.

"It's really the combination of having both that can really impact their ability to manage their asthma, their ability to take their controller medication and really their self-management practices,” says Dr. Feldman.

Dr. Feldman says previous studies show older adults in the inner city with asthma do have a higher rate of depression and worse control over their asthma, affecting their quality of life.

After studying 400 older asthma patients for 18 months at Montefiore, Einstein, and Mount Sinai and its Icahn School of Medicine, physician researchers are hoping to create better treatment plans for the vulnerable community.

They also hope to educate and raise awareness to patients about how they can best control the disease.

'We're really excited about the techniques we're developing and hopeful that this will help patients learn to better recognize symptoms during the earlier stages, so they don’t have to end up having a bad asthma attack and then more negative beliefs about asthma," says Dr. Feldman.

The $3.4 million National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute-funded research is one of the largest studies ever done on asthma in the elderly.

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