Last updated: February 25, 2021.
Amy Norton Health Day Reporter
Thursday, February 25, 2021 (HealthDay News)-People with Alzheimer’s often have a history of depression and anxiety, which may mean an early onset of memory and thinking problems, preliminary studies suggest. I will.
Researchers found that of the 1,500 Alzheimer’s patients at the center, 43% had a history of depression, while nearly one-third had a history of anxiety disorders. ..
These patients also tended to be diagnosed with dementia at a younger age-on average about 2-3 years younger than patients with Alzheimer’s disease who had no history of depression or anxiety.
The question is what that all means.
“What is the direction of this?” Said Dr. Zachary Miller, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco. “Do you mean you are at high risk for Alzheimer’s disease if you have depression or anxiety?”
Or does he say that depression and anxiety symptoms are early signs of the dementia process?
Although Miller said he was devoted to explaining the latter, the study cannot rule out the possibility that mental health contributes to the risk of dementia.
He will present his findings at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting, which will be held online April 17-22. Studies featured at the conference are generally considered preliminary until they are published in a peer-reviewed journal.
The idea that mental health is associated with Alzheimer’s disease is not new. Many studies have shown an association between depression and an increased risk of dementia, but there is no evidence of cause or effect.
However, few studies have investigated the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease and other mental states, including anxiety.
Miller and his colleagues then asked 1,500 Alzheimer’s patients at the Memory and Aging Center about their history of five psychiatric disorders: depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia. I screened.
Over 43% of patients suffered from depression and 32% had a history of anxiety. Other obstacles were rare.
According to Miller, some patients recently showed psychiatric symptoms within two years of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, while others were more than ten years old. But even these relatively distant symptoms can be early symptoms of dementia because the process occurs over the years, he said.
In general, this study found that patients with depression and anxiety were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease at a slightly younger age.
And if they had two mental states, their diagnosis of dementia came early. On average, these patients were 3 years or older at diagnosis compared to patients with no history of mental health.
Dr. John Morris is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology and Director of the Night Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.
He agreed that mental health symptoms could be early signs of dementia, but said it was difficult to ensure.
Morris pointed to his own recent work on people who have biological markers for Alzheimer’s disease in their brains but have not yet developed dementia. He said there was little evidence that depression developed earlier than the final stages of “preclinical” Alzheimer’s disease, where people were “shifting to dementia.”
Morris, who was not involved in the new study, said one of its strengths was the inclusion of mental states other than depression.
However, there are unanswered questions. For one thing, Morris said people with depression and anxiety may have seen a doctor early rather than actually developing dementia early.
It’s also unclear if the drug has a role, Morris said. Could some patients with psychiatric symptoms be given medications that exacerbate memory and thinking problems and lead to an early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease?
Miller agreed that there was still a lot to learn. “This study raises more questions than answers,” he said.
Miller also emphasized that older people who develop depression and anxiety should not assume that they are on the road to dementia. These disorders are common and have a variety of causes.
With the help of mental health symptoms, people with and without dementia can improve their quality of life, Miller said.
Morris said he did not believe that depression and anxiety in the elderly were sufficient to justify an assessment of the likelihood of dementia.
“The justification for cognitive assessment is whether or not you are experiencing a decline from previously achieved levels of memory and thinking ability, with or without depression, and that decline performs familiar activities. It’s starting to hurt their abilities, “he said.
For more information
The Alzheimer’s Association has more details Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
Source: Zachary Miller, MD, Associate Professor, Memory and Aging Center, University of California, San Francisco. John Morris, MD, Professor, Neurology, and Director of the Night Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.Presentation, American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, Online April 17-22, 2021
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