MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Archana Singh-Manoux, PhD
Research Professor (Directeur de Recherche)
Epidemiology of ageing & age-related diseases
University College London, UK
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: Depressive symptoms are common in dementia patients. Previous studies, based on older adults, show depressive symptoms in late life to be associated with an increased risk of dementia. These studies do not allow conclusions to be drawn on the causal nature of the association between depressive symptoms and dementia.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: Our analyses were based on over 10,000 men and women from the Whitehall study, followed from midlife to old age, over a span of 28 years. We found 1) depressive symptoms in late life but not mid-life to be associated with higher risk of dementia; 2) the timeline of depressive symptoms over 28 years shows that in those who develop dementia, depressive symptoms begin to increase 10 years before dementia diagnosis and continue to increase over the 10 year period to dementia diagnosis.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that depressive symptoms are a prodromal feature of dementia or that the two share common causes. These findings do not support the hypothesis that depressive symptoms increase risk of dementia.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?
Response: Depression is common at older ages and often co-morbid with many chronic diseases. In the case of dementia, we would like to know whether treatment of depressive symptoms in those with cognitive impairment would delay progression to dementia.
MedicalResearch.com: Is there anything else you would like to add?
Response: Although our study provides no support for the hypothesis that depressive symptoms increase the risk of dementia, we believe that depressive symptoms are important to study in older adults as they are associated with greater risk for mortality, higher healthcare costs, and disability.
MedicalResearch.com: Thank you for your contribution to the MedicalResearch.com community.
Singh-Manoux A, Dugravot A, Fournier A, Abell J, Ebmeier K, Kivimäki M, Sabia S. Trajectories of Depressive Symptoms Before Diagnosis of DementiaA 28-Year Follow-up Study. JAMA Psychiatry. Published online May 17, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.0660
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