Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Restless Nights Put Older Adults At Risk For Depression Recurrence

Date:
October 1, 2008
Source:
University of California - Los Angeles
Summary:
Poor sleep among the elderly is common, but it may also be a precursor of the first signs of depression.

Nearly 60 percent of the nation's elderly have trouble sleeping, whether it's a lot of tossing and turning or outright bouts of insomnia. While for most people sleeplessness can be annoying at best or unhealthy at worst, for elderly individuals who have suffered from depression in the past, poor sleep may be the first sign that a new bout of depression is coming on.

Related Articles


In a study to be published in an upcoming issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry and currently available online, UCLA professor of psychiatry Dr. Michael Irwin and his colleagues posed three hypotheses: risk for depression would be higher among older people with a prior history of the disorder; among those with prior depression, sleep disturbance could predict a relapse or recurrence; and sleep disturbances could act as a risk factor for depression recurrence separate from other depressive symptoms. The study confirmed all three hypotheses.

"Insomnia is the most frequent sleep disturbance in depressed patients and is viewed as a symptom of current depression," said Irwin, who also directs the Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology at UCLA's Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. "But when sleep disturbances begin to emerge in an otherwise healthy adult who has experienced depression in the past, we found that it may serve as a precursor to another attack of depression."

The study looked at 351 adults, age 60 and older. Of that number, 145 had a prior history of major or non-major depression that was in full remission, while 206 had no prior history of depression or other mental illness. The participants were assessed at four different times over a two-year period for depressive episodes, depressive symptoms, sleep quality and chronic medical disease.

The researchers found that of the subjects with prior depression, 23 had a relapse, compared with only one person in the group without prior mental illness. With the first group, researchers were able to predict depression recurrence based on individuals' sleep disturbance. Irwin noted that this association was established independently of other depressive symptoms, chronic medical disease or any use of antidepressants.

The study, Irwin said, is the first to demonstrate that sleep disturbances act as an independent risk factor for depression recurrence in older adults.

"Unfortunately, sleep difficulties are often considered to be a part of normal aging, and asking about and assessing the quality of an older person's sleep is frequently overlooked during routine doctor visits," Irwin said. "The omission is particularly striking, since we know that sleep disturbance is associated with declines in health functioning and with increases in all causes of mortality in older adults.

"And now, this study shows that sleep disturbance is often related to depressive disorders in late life, which carry further considerable risks for morbidity and mortality."

To identify older adults at risk for depression, Irwin said, a two-step strategy can be employed. One step involves assessment of whether individuals have had a prior episode of depression, the other whether they have current and ongoing sleep disturbance.

"Given that sleep disturbance is a modifiable risk factor," he said, "these findings tell us that we need to develop treatments that target sleep disturbances for the prevention of depression recurrence in older adults."

In addition to Irwin, other authors of the study included Hyong Jin Cho, M.D., Ph.D.; Helen Lavretsky, M.D.; Richard Olmstead, Ph.D.; Myron J. Levin, M.D.; and Michael N. Oxman, M.D.

Levin reports receiving funds from pharmaceutical company Merck & Co. Inc. The other authors report no competing interests.

Funding for the study was provided by grants from the National Institute on Aging, the National Institute of Mental Health; and the Cooperative Studies Program of the U.S. Veteran's Affairs Office of Research and Development.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Los Angeles. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Los Angeles. "Restless Nights Put Older Adults At Risk For Depression Recurrence." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 October 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930094655.htm>.
University of California - Los Angeles. (2008, October 1). Restless Nights Put Older Adults At Risk For Depression Recurrence. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930094655.htm
University of California - Los Angeles. "Restless Nights Put Older Adults At Risk For Depression Recurrence." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080930094655.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Monday, December 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Brain-Dwelling Tapeworm Reveals Genetic Secrets

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Dec. 22, 2014) Cambridge scientists have unravelled the genetic code of a rare tapeworm that lived inside a patient's brain for at least four year. Researchers hope it will present new opportunities to diagnose and treat this invasive parasite. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

Researchers Test Colombian Village With High Alzheimer's Rates

AFP (Dec. 19, 2014) In Yarumal, a village in N. Colombia, Alzheimer's has ravaged a disproportionately large number of families. A genetic "curse" that may pave the way for research on how to treat the disease that claims a new victim every four seconds. Duration: 02:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Double-Amputee Becomes First To Move Two Prosthetic Arms With His Mind

Buzz60 (Dec. 19, 2014) A double-amputee makes history by becoming the first person to wear and operate two prosthetic arms using only his mind. Jen Markham has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Prenatal Exposure To Pollution Might Increase Autism Risk

Newsy (Dec. 18, 2014) Harvard researchers found children whose mothers were exposed to high pollution levels in the third trimester were twice as likely to develop autism. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins