-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
FRIDAY, Jan. 4 (HealthDay News) -- Older people with depression
may be more likely to experience mild mental impairment or dementia
than their peers, Dutch researchers report.
In a study of nearly 2,200 Medicare recipients aged 65 and
older, researchers led by Dr. Edo Richard of the University of
Amsterdam examined the association between late-life depression and
dementia and thinking/memory difficulties known as mild cognitive
The study, published online Dec. 31 in the journal
Archives of Neurology, found that people with depression
were 40 percent more likely to have mild mental impairment and more
than twice as likely to have full-blown dementia. Although
depression also was linked to greater risk for incident dementia,
it was not associated with incident problems with thinking and
The study authors said those with both mild cognitive impairment
and depression were at increased risk for developing dementia,
particularly vascular dementia. They noted, however, that these
patients were not at greater risk for Alzheimer's disease, the most
common form of dementia.
"Our finding ... suggests that depression develops with the transition from normal cognition to dementia," the authors wrote in a journal news release.
Depression affects between 3 percent and 63 percent of people
with mild cognitive impairment. Previous studies have found that
those with a history of depression are at greater risk for
dementia. The researchers added that there is no clear explanation
for the link between late-life depression and cognitive impairment,
and their study does not establish a direct cause-and-effect
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health provides more
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