Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Late-Onset Depression May Flag Later Dementia

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Late-Onset Depression May Flag Later Dementia

Article excerpt

BAL HARBOUR, FLA. -- Depression, especially when it first occurs late in life, appears to predict the onset of vascular and ischemic dementia and Alzheimer's disease, Martine Simard, Ph.D., reported in a poster at the annual meeting of the American Neuropsychiatric Association.

"Late-onset depression may arise when the pathophysiologic changes in patients with Alzheimer's begin to disrupt the neuronal systems necessary to have for the maintenance of normal mood states," said Dr. Simard, who presented the results of a cohort study performed by her colleague, Dr. Robert van Reekum who is with Baycrest Centre for Geriatric Care, Toronto.

A previous study of cognition in depressed elderly patients by the same investigators suggested that these patients are at increased risk for developing dementias. This 7-year follow-up study examined the development of dementia in 44 patients who met criteria for major depressive disorder upon admission to a day treatment center, but who were not demented.

When the study began, patients with early-onset depression were younger than those with late-onset depression (mean of 73 years vs. almost 78 years). There were twice as many males as females in each grouping by time of depression onset. …

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