Increased symptoms of depression can indicate impending dementia
In previous studies, evidence of a link between depression and the risk of later dementia was found several times. A recent study by Dutch researchers has now shown that the course of depression has a significant impact on whether the risk of dementia increases. A worsening of the course of the disease could be a harbinger of impending dementia, the researchers report. They published their study results in the specialist magazine "The Lancet Psychiatry".
According to the researchers, the relationship between depression and the risk of dementia has been extensively investigated in previous studies, although the course of the disease has not been taken into account. The research team around Dr. In his current study, M. Arfan Ikram from the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam investigated the extent to which the risk of dementia differs in different courses of depression. According to their results, the higher risk of dementia can be seen especially with a significant increase in depressive symptoms.
Data from 3,325 people evaluated
For their study, the researchers used the data from the so-called Rotterdam study, which has been running since 1990 and regularly records the medical data of thousands of adults over the age of 55. The scientists looked at the data from 3,325 people who showed no signs of dementia, but showed symptoms of depression in at least one test. The data came from 1993 to 2004. The scientists divided the subjects into five groups with different courses of depressive symptoms: persistently low symptoms of depression; initially severe symptoms that decreased over time; low initial symptoms that remitted in the further course (subsiding and recurring); low initial symptoms that then increased steadily; high initial symptoms that remained high. According to the researchers, 434 subjects developed dementia during the 26,330 person-years evaluated.
The course of the depression is crucial for the risk of dementia
The more detailed evaluation of the individual groups made it clear that the Dutch researchers report that there was only a higher risk of dementia if the course of depressive symptoms increased. The risk of dementia differed significantly between the different courses of the depression. The researchers emphasize that these courses cannot be assessed by a single assessment of the depressive symptoms. However, an increase in complaints during follow-up should be assessed as a relatively reliable harbinger of impending dementia. Further investigations are now required to decipher the connection between the course of depression and the risk of dementia. (fp)