"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Depression triples dementia risk in adults under 60, study says

July 25, 2023 – People diagnosed with depression in early maturity or middle age have a three-fold increased risk of developing dementia, and older adults with depression are twice as more likely to develop the disease, in response to a brand new study in Denmark.

The results were published on Monday within the journal JAMA NeurologyFor the study, researchers compared 246,499 Danish adults with depression with Danes of the identical age and gender without the condition, after which evaluated the people's health data from 1977 to 2018 to search for onset dementia. None of the people had dementia firstly of the study. The average age of the study participants was 51 years.

About two-thirds of the study participants were diagnosed with depression before age 60. People with depression were 2.4 times more more likely to be diagnosed with dementia in the course of the 41-year statement period than people without depression. The researchers also checked out whether the danger varied by gender or age at which depression was diagnosed. They found that:

  • People aged 18 to 59 who were diagnosed with depression were thrice more more likely to even be diagnosed with dementia than older people.
  • Men diagnosed with depression were thrice more more likely to even be diagnosed with dementia than women.

The risk of dementia remained no matter whether patients diagnosed with depression were prescribed an antidepressant inside 6 months of diagnosis. The frequency of hospitalizations of individuals with depression also influenced their risk of dementia. The researchers wrote that further studies are needed to learn how various kinds of depression treatment and the duration of treatment affect the danger of depression.

“Our results therefore suggest not only that depression is an early symptom of dementia, but also that depression is associated with an increased risk of dementia,” the authors wrote, cautioning that the study doesn't allow any conclusions to be drawn concerning the causes of dementia.

“Our analysis did not account for the duration or effectiveness of treatment, nor could we identify individuals who received behavioral therapy. In our analysis of illness severity, repeated inpatient hospitalizations were associated with an increased risk of dementia,” they wrote. “Taken together, these findings may motivate further research focusing on the complex and time-dependent relationship between treatment and dementia, particularly when direct measures of disease burden and depression severity are available.”

The researchers also noted that their findings show that further studies are needed to look at how the presence of multiple mental illnesses, corresponding to depression and anxiety disorders, affects the danger of depression.