This came to my attention yesterday as a small briefing in the Health & Science section of my newspaper, Newsday.

It refers to the results of "one of the largest long-term studies of depression".

The findings were recently published in "The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences".

As with all information like this, I suggest caution, thus my title, "For what it's worth".

I say this for several reasons. First, the information I am presenting is an abstract only, and while it clearly "suggests" certain conclusions, there may be exceptions that are revealed in the full article.

The second reason is that the author was embroiled in controversy not long ago regarding questions about his impartiality and perceived "conflicts of interest" with respect to other studies and conclusions. His response and defense was similar to Justice Scalia's recent comments.

The last reason is that while the National Academies are supposed to be totally volunteer, totally independent, and without agendas, they are Federally established and chartered (originally by Lincoln), at least partly federally funded, if not fully, and who knows how politically connected or influenced.

In fairness, this study comes to a conclusion that would be in direct opposition to the author's alleged interests. In my mind, this makes me wonder if this study is somehow reactionary and also suspect.

All that being said, here is the abstract, in total, as released to the AP wire service. I believe this information could be relevant and important for our members and readers. I added the boldface.

Major depressive disorder is associated with considerable morbidity, disability, and risk for suicide. Treatments for depression most commonly include antidepressants, psychotherapy, or the combination. Little is known about predictors of treatment response for depression. In this study, 681 patients with chronic forms of major depression were treated with an antidepressant (nefazodone), Cognitive Behavioral Analysis System of Psychotherapy (CBASP), or the combination. Overall, the effects of the antidepressant alone and psychotherapy alone were equal and significantly less effective than combination treatment. Among those with a history of early childhood trauma (loss of parents at an early age, physical or sexual abuse, or neglect), psychotherapy alone was superior to antidepressant monotherapy. Moreover, the combination of psychotherapy and pharmacotherapy was only marginally superior to psychotherapy alone among the childhood abuse cohort. Our results suggest that psychotherapy may be an essential element in the treatment of patients with chronic forms of major depression and a history of childhood trauma.

If you understand everything, some things are just as they are. If you understand nothing, things are still just as they are.