Monday, July 11, 2005

Depression & desire for death in late-stage ALS

July 12th's Neurology has 2 articles about depression and desire for death in advanced ALS (along with an editorial by the esteemed Timothy Quill).  In brief, they find that depression is rare in ALS (~10%), doesn't seem to become more common as people approach death, and (discounting those who are actively suicidal) depression and a desire for death don't seem to be particularly related.  ALS has often been used as the model to describe a circumstance in which a desire for death/to hasten death could be rational & these articles at least would argue that this desire is not based in depression.  Either way I'll always argue skilled palliative care, not physician assisted suicide, is the answer.

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