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Neurology. 2010 Jul 6;75(1):27-34. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0b013e3181e62124.

Recurrent depressive symptoms and the incidence of dementia and mild cognitive impairment.

Author information

  • 1National Institute on Aging, NIA/NIH/IRP, Baltimore, MD, USA. vonetta@phhp.ufl.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

A history of depression has been linked to an increased dementia risk. This risk may be particularly high in recurrent depression due to repeated brain insult. We investigated whether there is a dose-dependent relationship between the number of episodes of elevated depressive symptoms (EDS) and the risk for mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and dementia.

METHODS:

A total of 1,239 older adults from the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging were followed for a median of 24.7 years. Diagnoses of MCI and dementia were made based on prospective data. Participants completed the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale at 1- to 2-year intervals and were considered to have an EDS if their score was > or = 16. Kaplan-Meier survival curves, log-rank test for trend for survivor functions, and Cox proportional hazards models were conducted to examine the risk of MCI and dementia by number of EDS.

RESULTS:

We observed a monotonic increase in risk for all-cause dementia and Alzheimer disease as a function of the number of EDS. Each episode was associated with a 14% increase in risk for all-cause dementia. Having 1 EDS conferred an 87%-92% increase in dementia risk, while having 2 or more episodes nearly doubled the risk. Recurrence of EDS did not increase the risk of incident MCI.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings support the hypothesis that depression is a risk factor for dementia and suggest that recurrent depression is particularly pernicious. Preventing the recurrence of depression in older adults may prevent or delay the onset of dementia.

Comment in

PMID:
20603482
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2906403
Free PMC Article

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