Depression may nearly double risk of dementia

Jul 05, 2010

A new study shows that having depression may nearly double your risk of developing dementia later in life. The research will be published in the July 6, 2010, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

For the study, researchers examined research data on 949 people with an average age of 79 from the Framingham Heart Study. At the start of the study, participants were free of and were tested for depressive symptoms based on questions about general depression, sleep complaints, and other factors. A total of 125 people, or 13 percent, were classified as having depression at the start of the study.

The participants were followed for up to 17 years.

At the end of the study, 164 people had developed dementia with 136 specifically diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease. Nearly 22 percent of people who were depressed at the start of the study developed dementia compared to about 17 percent of those who were not depressed, a 70 percent increased risk in those who were depressed. The 10-year absolute risk for dementia was 0.21 in people without depressive symptoms and 0.34 in people with . The results were the same regardless of a person's age, sex, education and whether they had the APOE gene that increases a person's risk of Alzheimer's disease.

"While it's unclear if depression causes dementia, there are a number of ways depression might impact the risk of dementia," said study author Jane Saczynski, PhD, with the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, MA. "Inflammation of that occurs when a person is depressed might contribute to dementia. Certain proteins found in the brain that increase with depression may also increase the risk of developing dementia. In addition, several related to long-term depression, such as diet and the amount of exercise and social time a person engages in, could also affect whether they develop dementia."

Saczynski hopes the study, which is one of the largest and longest population based studies to date, helps clear up confusion over earlier studies that reported inconsistent results about the link between depression and dementia.

Explore further: Inpatient psychotherapy is effective in Germany

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Depression increases risk of Alzheimer's disease

Apr 07, 2008

People who have had depression are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than people who have never had depression, according to a study published in the April 8, 2008, issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the ...

Having a parent with dementia may affect memory in midlife

Feb 18, 2009

People who have parents diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia may be more likely to have memory loss themselves in middle age, according to a study released today that will be presented at the American Academy of ...

Researchers find parental dementia may lead

Feb 19, 2009

People who have parents diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease or dementia perform less well on formal memory testing when compared to people of the same age whose parents never developed Alzheimer's disease or other dementia. ...

Low childhood IQ linked to type of dementia

Jun 26, 2008

Children with lower IQs are more likely decades later to develop vascular dementia than children with high IQs, according to research published in the June 25, 2008, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the ...

Alzheimer's disease risks are gender specific

May 01, 2008

The risks of developing Alzheimer’s disease differ between the sexes, with stroke in men, and depression in women, critical factors, suggests research published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery an ...

Recommended for you

"Body recognition" compares with fingerprint ID

30 minutes ago

(Medical Xpress)—University of Adelaide forensic anatomy researchers are making advances in the use of "body recognition" for criminal and missing persons cases, to help with identification when a face ...

Some people may be pre-wired to be bilingual

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Some people's brains seem pre-wired to acquire a second language, new research suggests. But anyone who tries to move beyond their mother tongue will likely gain a brain boost, the small study ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.