Does improving mood in depressed patients alter factors that may affect cardiovascular disease risk?

C. Barr Taylor, Ansgar Conrad, Frank H. Wilhelm, Diane Strachowski, Anna Khaylis, Eric Neri, Janine Giese-Davis, Walton T. Roth, John P. Cooke, Helena Kraemer, David Spiegel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


To determine if improvement in mood would ameliorate autonomic dysregulation, HPA dysfunction, typical risk factors and C-reactive protein in depressed patients with elevated cardiovascular disease risk (CVD), 48 depressed participants with elevated cardiovascular risk factors were randomized to a cognitive behavioral intervention (CBT) or a waiting list control (WLC) condition. Twenty non-depressed age and risk-matched controls were also recruited. Traditional risk factors (e.g., lipids, blood pressure) and C-reactive protein were assessed pre- and post-treatment six months later. Subjects also underwent a psychophysiological stress test while cardiovascular physiology was measured. Salivary cortisol was measured during the day and during the psychological stress test. At post-treatment, the CBT subjects were significantly less depressed than WLC subjects. There was no significant difference in change scores on any of the traditional risk factors or C-reactive protein, cortisol measures, or cardiovascular physiology, except for triglyceride levels and heart rate, which were significantly lower in treatment compared to control subjects. The normal controls exhibited no change in the variables measured during the same time. A significant improvement in mood may have little impact on most traditional or atypical risk factors, cortisol or cardiophysiology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1246-1252
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Psychiatric Research
Issue number16
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • CVD
  • Depression
  • Risk factors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry


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