Depression may raise risk of dementia
Depression and dementia have longed been linked and now new research suggests that depression may help speed the rate of a person's cognitive decline.
For the study, published in the journal Neurology, researchers looked at whether depression is a consequence of dementia and if both conditions develop from the same problems in the brain.
The scientists analyzed 1,764 people of an average age of 77, who were a part of the Religious Orders Study and the Rush Memory and Aging Project. All participants were free of any memory or thinking problems at study’s start. Each year, for an average of 7.8 years, the participants were assessed for symptoms of depression, such as reduced appetite and loneliness and took part in tests that gauged their memory and thinking skills. During the study period 680 people died. Autopsies were performed on 582 of these individuals to identify any brain plaques or tangles related to dementia, as well as any other indications of brain damage.
But, according to the researchers, no relationship was found between the levels of brain damage among participants and the levels of depression or changes in depressive symptoms. They did find, however, that participants who developed dementia were more likely to have a higher level of depressive symptoms before they were diagnosed with dementia.