The depression - dementia link

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There may be a link between depression and dementia. A new report in Archives of General Psychiatry discloses a connection between people in mid-life and late-life suffering from depression and the possibility that they will eventually develop dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).

“Prevalence and costs of AD and other dementias are projected to rise dramatically during the next 40 years unless a prevention or a cure can be found. Therefore, it is critical to gain a greater understanding of the key risk factors and etiologic underpinnings of dementia from a population-based perspective,” said Deborah E. Barnes, PhD, MPH of the University of California, San Francisco and the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

Researchers studied more than 13,000 long term Kaiser Permanente members with a history of depressive symptoms at mid-life and late life. They compared these findings with those patients suffering from AD and vascular dementia. Vascular dementia is a result of brain damage caused by reduced blood flow to the brain.

Depressive symptoms were present in 14% of participants during midlife and 9% later in life. In the following six years, 22.5% percent of patients were diagnosed with dementia, 5.5% with AD and 2.3% with vascular dementia.

“Our findings suggest that chronic depression during the life course may be etiologically associated with an increased risk of dementia, particularly VaD, whereas depression that occurs for the first time in late life is likely to reflect a prodromal stage of dementia, in particular AD,” the study authors concluded.

Source: MedicalNewsToday, Archives of General Psychiatry

 
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