According to a recent medical study which was published in the journal The Lancet Psychiatry there is a link between depression and dementia risk in older adults. The researchers have theorized that older adults who experience depression symptoms which increase steadily could be at a higher dementia risk, and these depression symptoms could be an indication of the onset of the early stages of dementia in these patients. The researchers involved in the study determined that the study findings offer support for previous studies and suggest that some types of depression may share common causes with dementia. There is overlap between neurodegenerative diseases and the biological mechanisms of depression on a molecular level.
The study on depression and dementia risk was explained by Department of Epidemiology at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam researcher Dr. M. Arfan Ikram. Dr. Ikram stated “Depressive symptoms that gradually increase over time appear to better predict dementia later in life than other trajectories of depressive symptoms, such as high and remitting, in this study. There are a number of potential explanations, including that depression and dementia may both be symptoms of a common underlying cause, or that increasing depressive symptoms are on the starting end of a dementia continuum in older adults. More research is needed to examine this association, and to investigate the potential to use ongoing assessments of depressive symptoms to identify older adults at increased risk of dementia.” The study examined data for more than 3,399 adults who were at least 55 years old, and all of the study participants experienced depression symptoms but none had dementia symptoms when the study was started.