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Data Suggest Depression Doesn't Precede Impaired Cognition

MONDAY, Jan. 7 (HealthDay News) -- Among older adults, depression correlates with prevalent mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and progression to dementia, but not with incident MCI, according to a study published online Dec. 31 in JAMA Neurology.

To examine the correlation of late-life depression with MCI and dementia, Edo Richard, M.D., Ph.D., from the University of Amsterdam, and colleagues conducted a cohort study involving 2,160 community-dwelling Medicare recipients, aged 65 years or older, from New York City.

The researchers found that the likelihood of prevalent MCI (odds ratio, 1.4) and dementia (odds ratio, 2.2) were significantly elevated with baseline depression. Depression at baseline correlated with a significantly elevated risk of incident dementia (hazard ratio [HR], 1.7), but not incident MCI (HR, 0.9; 95 percent confidence interval, 0.7 to 1.2). The risk of progression to dementia, especially vascular dementia, but not Alzheimer's disease, was elevated for those with MCI and coexisting depression at baseline (HR, 2.0 for dementia and 4.3 for vascular dementia).

"The association of depression with prevalent MCI and with progression from MCI to dementia, but not with incident MCI, suggests that depression accompanies cognitive impairment but does not precede it," the authors write.

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