Which neurodegenerative diseases increase the risk for major depressive disorder (clinical depression) in the elderly?

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

Potential biological risk factors have been identified for depression in the elderly. Neurodegenerative diseases (especially Alzheimerdisease and Parkinsondisease), stroke, multiple sclerosis, seizure disorders, cancer, macular degeneration, and chronic pain have been associated with higher rates of depression. [42]  Alternatively, a large, longitudinal study found that depression that starts early in life increases the risk for Alzheimer's disease (AD). Researchers used data from the Prospective Population Study of Women in Gothenburg Sweden, which began in 1968. The study sample included 800 women (mean age, 46 years), born between 1914 and 1930, who were followed up with in 1974, 1980, 1992, 2000, 2009, and 2012. Data show those women who experienced the onset of depression before age 20 years were three times more likely to develop AD (adjusted HR, 3.41; 95% CI, 1.78 - 6.54). [43]


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