Worsening depression in seniors could be an early predictor of dementia in seniors, according to a new study. Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein who reviewed the findings said, “More research is needed, but the study raises the possibility of an overlap between the pathology of dementia and depression.”
The research team tracked depression symptoms among over 3,300 older adults for 11 years. The patients were then monitored for additional 10 years for signs of dementia.
During the follow-up, 434 participants developed dementia and the researchers found those with worsening depression symptoms had a higher risk for dementia. Twenty-two percent of those with worsening depression symptoms went on to develop dementia. This was compared to only 10 percent of those with low depression symptoms who developed dementia.
The findings show that having short bouts of depression does not increase the risk of dementia, but worsening depression symptoms could be an early predictor of dementia. The findings support previous research that suggests dementia and some forms of depression may share the same underlying cause. Dr. Wolf-Klein added, “Different courses of depression may reflect different underlying causes, and might be linked to different risks of dementia.”
Although the study did not reveal a cause-and-effect relationship, it does raise important questions about the depression screening process and treatment of early dementia.
Also, read Bel Marra Health’s article on Alzheimer’s disease, dementia risk lower in seniors who exercise which protects brain’s gray matter.