Is late-onset major depressive disorder (clinical depression) etiologically different from early-onset major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Mar 28, 2019
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Answer

Some evidence suggests that late-onset depression (after age 60 years) is an etiologically and clinically distinct syndrome [28] and that genetic factors likely play less of a role in late-onset depression than in early-onset depression. A family history of depression is less common among patients with late-onset depression than in younger adults with depression. However, although findings have been inconsistent, certain genetic markers have been found to be associated with late-onset depression. Such markers include polymorphisms of apolipoprotein E, BDNF, and 5-HT transporter genes. Interestingly, these markers have also been associated with cognitive impairment, hippocampal volume, and antidepressant response, respectively.


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