Late-life depression is associated with an increased risk for all-cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, and, most predominantly, vascular dementia, a new study shows.
A new meta-analysis extends previous research showing a link between depression and Alzheimer’s disease to late-life depression and dementia. The analysis of 23 studies concluded that those with late-life depression were significantly more likely to develop dementia (1.85 times more likely), and that the risk of developing vascular dementia was significantly greater than that of developing Alzheimer’s (2.52 vs 1.65).
Late-life depression is estimated to affect 15% of older adults (65+) in the U.S. It has been associated to social isolation, as well as poorer health.
Interestingly, another recent study has explored the difficulties of disentangling major depression and early Alzheimer’s in older adults, given the overlap in symptoms. The study, involving 120 older depressed patients, found that tests of episodic memory were most predictive of Alzheimer’s (as compared to other cognitive tests, for example, in executive function).
http://www.futurity.org/health-medicine/late-life-depression-may-boost-dementia-risk/ (Press release, 1st study)
http://newoldage.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/01/does-depression-contribute-to-dementia/ (Commentary, 1st study)
(2013). Late-life depression and risk of vascular dementia and Alzheimer’s disease: systematic review and meta-analysis of community-based cohort studies.
The British Journal of Psychiatry. 202(5), 329 - 335.
(0). Neuropsychological indicators of preclinical Alzheimer's disease among depressed older adults.
Aging, Neuropsychology, and Cognition. 1 - 30.