To Your Health
June, 2024 (Vol. 18, Issue 06)
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Depression and the Brain

By Editorial Staff

Depression in young adulthood is associated with a greater likelihood of experiencing dementia symptoms; and a greater likelihood of experiencing them earlier – as early as midlife. That's the conclusion from a recent study that evaluated the relationship between depressive symptoms and cognition over time.

The study involved 3,100-plus adults (average age at the start of the study: 30 years) who were evaluated for depressive symptoms every five years for 20 years.

Researchers divided participants into four groups based on the progression of their symptoms over time: "persistently low symptoms, medium decreasing, persistently medium or high increasing symptoms."

At an average age of 55, participants received three tests to evaluate their memory / thinking skills. Members of the high symptom group scored significantly lower on these tests compared to members of the low symptom group, suggesting an association between depressive symptoms and cognition. Findings appear in the research journal Neurology.

Loss of cognitive abilities is a real, scary thing – and it's a reality for too many people as they get older. But holding off Father Time isn't impossible when it comes to brain health; and according to this research, an important variable may be managing depression. For more tips to help keep your brain healthy as you age, click here to read "10 Healthy Habits for Your Brain" by the Alzheimer's Association.