Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Depression is a risk factor and not an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, study suggests

Date:
August 5, 2010
Source:
Rush University Medical Center
Summary:
Researchers have found that depressive symptoms show little change during the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. The study suggests that depression is truly a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease and not just an early sign of the disease.

Depression is commonly reported in people with Alzheimer's disease and its precursor, mild cognitive impairment, with several studies suggesting having a history of major depression may nearly double your risk of developing dementia later in life. However, it has been unclear if depression is a symptom of the disease or a potential cause of the disease.

To study the relationship between Alzheimer's and depression, researchers at Rush University Medical Center tracked symptoms of depression during the transition from no cognitive impairment to dementia and found that depressive symptoms show little change during the development and progression of Alzheimer's disease. The study will be published in the July 6 issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

"Our study suggests that depression is truly a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease," said lead author Robert S. Wilson, PhD, senior neuropsychologist, Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center, and a professor in the Department of Behavioral Sciences at Rush. "If depression was an early sign of the disease, we would expect to see it increase prior to diagnosis and as the disease progresses. Our study found very little change."

"Depression should not be viewed as an inevitable part of Alzheimer's disease. If a patient with Alzheimer's has depression, the depression should be treated," said Wilson.

The study involved participants in the Chicago Health and Aging Project, a longitudinal study of risk factors for Alzheimer's disease involving a population of older adults on Chicago's south side. At three year intervals, the entire population completed a brief self-report measure of depressive symptoms and clinical evaluations for Alzheimer's disease.

Initial analyses focused on a group of 357 individuals who developed Alzheimer's disease during the course of the study. The study found a barely perceptible increase in depressive symptoms, a rate of 0.04 symptoms per year, during six to seven years of observation before the diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and no change during two to three years of observation after the diagnosis.

Because dementia may reduce the accuracy of self-report, in a subgroup of 340 participants, researchers conducted additional analyses of change in depressive symptoms by interviewing family, friends and other who were close to the study participants. Neither Alzheimer's disease nor its precursor, mild cognitive impairment, was associated with change in depressive symptoms during a mean of three years of observation.

The results were consistent across all demographics. There was no evidence that sex, age, education or race modified the trajectory of depressive symptoms before or after Alzheimer's disease was diagnosed.

"Here is this terrible disease that robs people of who they are and their ability to function and yet it doesn't make them depressed," said Wilson. "Alzheimer's may disrupt the ability to have prolonged bouts of negative emotions, in much the same way it disrupts many other activities."

The study authors suggest additional studies of patients with Alzheimer's disease for longer periods to determine if depressive symptoms may eventually decrease as the disease becomes more severe.

In addition, researchers at Rush continue to look at why depression increases the risk of Alzheimer's disease.

The study was supported by funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH)/ National Institute on Aging (NIA). Co-authors include G.M. Hoganson, BS; K.B. Rajan, PhD; L.L. Barnes, PhD; C.F. Mendes de Leon, PhD; and D.A. Evans, MD.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Rush University Medical Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R.S. Wilson, G.M. Hoganson, K.B. Rajan, L.L. Barnes, C.F. Mendes de Leon, and D.A. Evans. Temporal course of depressive symptoms during the development of Alzheimer disease. Neurology, 2010; 75: 21-26 [link]

Cite This Page:

Rush University Medical Center. "Depression is a risk factor and not an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, study suggests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100705190530.htm>.
Rush University Medical Center. (2010, August 5). Depression is a risk factor and not an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, study suggests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100705190530.htm
Rush University Medical Center. "Depression is a risk factor and not an early sign of Alzheimer's disease, study suggests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100705190530.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Cost of Ebola

The Cost of Ebola

Reuters - Business Video Online (Sep. 18, 2014) As Sierra Leone prepares for a three-day "lockdown" in its latest bid to stem the spread of Ebola, Ciara Lee looks at the financial implications of fighting the largest ever outbreak of the disease. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

What HealthKit Bug Means For Your iOS Fitness Apps

Newsy (Sep. 18, 2014) Apple has delayed the launch of the HealthKit app platform, citing a bug. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

Residents Vaccinated as Haiti Fights Cholera Epidemic

AFP (Sep. 18, 2014) Haitians receive the second dose of the vaccine against cholera as part of the UN's vaccination campaign. Duration: 00:34 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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