A new study shows that depression in older adults can be associated with memory problems. The researchers also found that older people with major symptoms of depression may have structural differences in the brain compared to people without symptoms.
"Because symptoms of depression can be treated, it may be possible that the treatment reduces thinking and memory problems." said the author of the study, Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, MS, from the Miller School of Medicine of the University of Miami in Florida.
"With as much as 25 percent of older adults experiencing symptoms of depression, it is important to understand the relationship between depression and memory problems."
The study involved 1
As part of the psychological investigation, attendees reported how often they agreed with statements like "I was bothered by things that do not normally do" in the past week, and "I did not feel like eating. "
To be defined as a risk for clinical depression, participants needed a score of 16 or higher in a test with a range of 0-60. At the beginning of the study, researchers found that 22 percent of participants had larger scores
The researchers also found that after adjusting for age, ethnicity, antidepressant medication and other variables, greater symptoms of depression associated with worse episodic memory, a person's ability to adapt to specific experiences and events
Memory scores for participants with major symptoms of depression were 0.21% lower than non-symptom scores, and researchers also found that those with greater symptoms of depression had differences in brain, including smaller brain volume as well a 55 percent higher probability commonality of small vascular lesions in the brain.
The researchers found no evidence of a relationship between major symptoms of depression and changes in thinking skills over five years.
"Small vascular lesions in the brain are markers of small vascular disease, a condition in which the walls in the small blood vessels are damaged," said Zeki Al Hazzouri.
Our research indicates that depression and brain aging can occur simultaneously, and that greater depression symptoms can affect brain health through a small vascular disease.
Zeki Al Hazzouri noted that this study also provides information on depression, memory and thinking in people who identify themselves as Hispanic, who were underrepresented in earlier studies on the subject, although they may be at increased risk of dementia Late Life.
The limitations of the study include that participants had to be healthy enough to have an MRI so that they could have been healthier than the general population.
The study was also over a period of five years that may not have been long enough to capture meaningful changes in thinking and memory over time.
Source: American Academy of Neurology / EurekAlert