Depression can lead to dementia in elderly people

Depression can lead to dementia in elderly people


A study has revealed that elderly people who exhibit prominent signs of depression are at a high risk of developing dementia. These people may also experience the early symptoms of dementia, which includes the deterioration of at least two mental functions, like loss of memory and judgment.

Senior citizens who experience a progression of the symptoms are at higher risk of dementia, especially after three years.

M Arfan Ikram of Erasmus University Medical Centre in Rotterdam, Netherlands, says that aggravating signs of depression are better detectors of dementia at a later stage in life.

However, the study shows that people with remitting symptoms of depression were not at a higher risk of dementia in contrast with individuals with few symptoms. The researchers further added that exhibiting intense symptoms of depression do not necessarily have a prominent influence on the prospect of dementia.

The experts hypothesized that growing symptoms of depression can lead to the occurrence of early signs of dementia in elderly people. This research studies the connection between dementia and the process of depression, which was published in The Lancet Psychiatry journal.

Depression affects people differently; some experience transient episodes of depression, some relapse frequently and some may experience chronic depression.

Varied courses of depression may indicate different hidden causes and also reflect various levels of dementia in terms of severity.

3,325 adults all aged above 55 who exhibited the symptoms of depression and no signs of dementia took part in the study. Scientists examined the effects of depression for 11 years and dementia for 10 years.

This study revealed five different categories of depression, few depression symptoms among 2,441 participants, severe symptoms that gradually diminished among 369 participants, subtle symptoms that increased over time and remitted among 170 people, few symptoms that elevated among 255 people and consistent severe symptoms among 90 participants.

Among 3,325 people, 434 were diagnosed with dementia, which includes 348 people who developed Alzheimer’s disease.