Which medical conditions are risk factors for the development of late-onset major depressive disorder (clinical depression)?

Updated: Aug 06, 2020
  • Author: Jerry L Halverson, MD; Chief Editor: David Bienenfeld, MD  more...
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Late-onset depression has been reported to double the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment [63] and the likelihood that the mild impairment will develop into dementia. [64] The Diabetes and Aging Study showed that when depression is comorbid with type 2 diabetes, it increases the risk of all-cause dementia by about 2-fold compared with diabetes alone. [65] A 40-month study of 2977 middle-aged and older adults with long-standing type 2 diabetes found depression at baseline to be associated with accelerated cognitive decline. [66, 67]

Compared with participants without a depression history, those with late-life depression reportedly have increased all-cause dementia risk; however, early-life depression had no association with dementia risk. [68] Treating depression has been suggested to possibly stunt progression to mild cognitive impairment and then to dementia, although there has been little evaluation of this hypothesis to date.

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