The group’s report is published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. In a news release issued today by the task force, Joffres says: “There is a lack of high quality research demonstrating the benefits and harms of screening in adults with no apparent symptoms of depression.”
“Without evidence that screening is beneficial for patients with no apparent symptoms of depression, and considering the potential harms, we recommend not to routinely screen for depression in primary care settings – either in patients at average risk, or those with characteristics that may increase their risk for depression.”
The working group report states it is important to note that the recommendations don’t apply to people with known depression, have a history of, or are being treated for, depression.
“We recommend that clinicians should be alert to the clinical clues of depression, including but not limited to, depressed mood, diminished interest or pleasure, insomnia, inability to think or concentrate and recurrent thoughts of death, especially in individuals with characteristics that may increase the risk of depression,” Joffres adds.
Joffres was part of several other recent Task Force on Preventive Health Care screening recommendations related to breast cancer, cervical cancer, diabetes and hypertension.
Joffres studies a variety of public health issues, including the prevention of high blood pressure and the role of dietary sodium, for which he recently carried out research for the U.S. Centre for Disease Control. The study has since been published in the journal Hypertension and received wide media coverage in the U.S.
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David Rodier, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, 613.786.9945 (to schedule an interview with Joffres, who is in Victoria)
Marianne Meadahl, PAMR, 778.782.9017; Marianne_Meadahl@sfu.ca