Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Depression and Dementia: are you missing the sign?

A study by the University of Amsterdam concluded that Depression and Dementia are in fact linked. This is something this website Mal Alzheimer has reported on in the past. We are seeing a heavy increase in the numbers of people who are suffering from both of these illnesses. Depression and Dementia are very strong diseases that effect the brain, it is extremely important to have both of these illness controlled.  

The brain when depression

Those who are clinically depression suffer the inability to function on a daily basis without the use of anti-depressants. The use of drugs is often necessary for some people to carry out the daily functions that most of us take for granted. Most anti-depressants increase the amount of serotonin in the brain and this can help treat many depressive conditions. Many depressed people have a low level of serotonin in the brain thus the need for anti-depressants or serotonin up-lifters. What about dementia and depression? What is the common linking of the two illnesses?

Which came first?

Edo Richard, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands, and colleagues evaluated the association of late-life depression with MCI and dementia in a group of 2,160 community-dwelling Medicare recipients. 

"Our finding that depression was associated cross sectionally with both MCI and dementia and longitudinally only with dementia suggests that depression develops with the transition from normal cognition to dementia," the researcher added.

The Amsterdam study shows clearly that depression was one of the signs of early Alzheimer's. What they concluded was that being depressed was an indication of possibly having Alzheimer's disease similar to the common memory loss. What this shows is that a depressed elderly person may also have an un-diagnosed Alzheimer's; what may strengthen this conclusion is another study from the USA

A new study in California showed the same depression dementia link The study from Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research showed that depressed people in there 40's or 50's did not have an increase in Alzheimer's disease but seniors did.

"It's quite clear depression late in life can be an early sign of Alzheimer's," explained Rachel Whitmer, a study researcher and an investigator at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research. 

We must watch clearly for signs of depression in our seniors, this may be a sign of brain problems. We must be more attentive to how they are truly feeling.

What we can conclude from these studies is that a depressed senior can be a very dangerous thing to their brain and a sign of Dementia. Watch carefully for yourself or loved one


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