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Depression warning sign for dementia in elderly women (USA)

January 25, 2013

Researchers in the Department of Mental Health at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, Maryland recently released the results of their study of more than 300 women, ages 85 years of age or more, with depression. Their results showed an association between higher depression scores and a three-fold increase in the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, compared to women with lower depression scores.

Furthermore, researchers found that only 19 per cent of the women with scores of six or more on the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) retained normal cognitive function after five years from the date of initial testing.

Their results do not imply a cause and effect relationship between depression and cognitive impairment; however the association between the two could serve predictive value where depression in elderly women could be seen as a red flag for elevated risk of MCI.

The study, “Depressive Symptoms in Oldest-old Women: Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Dementia” is available on theAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry website.

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