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Study: To fight dementia, fight depression and stress

depression mental health “Stud­ies have shown that peo­ple with symp­toms of depres­sion are more like­ly to devel­op demen­tia, but we haven’t known how the rela­tion­ship works,” said study author Robert S. Wil­son, PhD, with Rush Uni­ver­si­ty Med­ical Cen­ter in Chica­go. “Is the depres­sion a con­se­quence of the demen­tia? Do both prob­lems devel­op from the same under­ly­ing prob­lems in the brain? Or does the rela­tion­ship of depres­sion with demen­tia have noth­ing to do with demen­tia-relat­ed pathol­o­gy?”…

These find­ings are excit­ing because they sug­gest depres­sion tru­ly is a risk fac­tor for demen­tia, and if we can tar­get and pre­vent or treat depres­sion and caus­es of stress we may have the poten­tial to help peo­ple main­tain their think­ing and mem­o­ry abil­i­ties into old age,” Wil­son said…

Par­tic­i­pants were screened every year for symp­toms of depres­sion, such as lone­li­ness and lack of appetite, and took tests on their think­ing and mem­o­ry skills for an aver­age of eight years. A total of 680 peo­ple died dur­ing the study, and autop­sies were per­formed on 582 of them to look for the plaques and tan­gles in the brain that are the signs of demen­tia and oth­er signs of dam­age in the brain…

Hav­ing a high­er lev­el of depres­sion symp­toms was asso­ci­at­ed with more rapid decline in think­ing and mem­o­ry skills, account­ing for 4.4 per­cent of the dif­fer­ence in decline that could not be attrib­uted to the lev­el of dam­age in the brain.”

The abstract of the study, from the online issue of Neu­rol­o­gy®, is avail­able Here.

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