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Study: Suffering Depression May Increase Risk Of Alzheimer’s

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A man suffering from depression. (credit: China Photos/Getty Images)

A man suffering from depression. (credit: China Photos/Getty Images)

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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) – Suffering from depression may increase people’s chances of suffering from Alzheimer’s, a new study finds.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 10 adults in the U.S. report that they suffer from depression.

Older studies showed a link between depression and dementia but not how the relationship worked. Dr. Robert S. Wilson, a neuropsychiatrist at the Rush University Medical Center Alzheimer’s Disease Center, wanted to show the relationship between those two diseases.

Over 1,760 participants from the Religious Orders Study and the Rush Memory and Aging Project were included in the study. Their average age was 77 years old.

At the start of the study, none of the participants said they had any cognitive issues. Researchers analyzed the participants each year for depression or any other cognitive issues.

Over the course of eight years, 52 percent of the participants developed some sort of cognitive issues, which is usually a precursor to Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers found that the participants with dementia were more likely to have a higher level of symptoms related to depression before their dementia.

“These findings are exciting because they suggest depression truly is a risk factor for dementia, and if we can target and prevent or treat depression and causes of stress we may have the potential to help people maintain their thinking and memory abilities into old age,” Wilson said in a statement obtained by the Daily Digest.

The findings were published in the journal Neurology.

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