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  1. Bill Noble
  1. Correspondence to Professor Bill Noble, Academic Unit of Supportive Care, Sheffield Hallam University, Sykes House, Little Common Lane, London SE1 7TP, UK; bill.noble{at}

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Black Dog, the term given to their depressive moods by Samuel Johnson, and later Winston Churchill, conveys a powerful image for the sufferer. Unlike the companiable pooch pictured in our cover, it is an intimidating and unpredictable mutt. Depression, in the context of other serious illness, has been the subject of studies in palliative care for many years and we see it in in the cluster of papers that I have collected for this issue.

Elene Janberidze and her colleagues used a retrospective survey of medical attendants to describe the presence of depressive symptoms in over a third of the sample of people in the last day of life. The theme of unrecognized mood disorder, prompting no therapeutic response has been prominent in this line of enquiry over the years.

No adequate strategy has ever taken root in palliative care practice, possibly because …

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  • Competing interests None declared. Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; internally peer reviewed.