A diagnosis of depression can more than double your risk of dementia

Results provide strong evidence that depression is not only an early symptom of dementia, but also that depression increases dementia risk. Photo: Pexels

(Madeline Holcombe/ CNN News) — A diagnosis of depression in adulthood could more than double your risk of developing dementia in older age, according to a new study.

The study, published Monday in the journal JAMA Neurology, used data from more than 1.4 million Danish citizens who were followed from 1977 to 2018, said lead study author Dr. Holly Elser, epidemiologist and resident physician in neurology at the University of Pennsylvania.

People were identified as having a depression diagnosis or not and followed throughout the years to see who developed dementia later in life, the study said. Researchers adjusted for factors like education, income, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, substance use disorder and bipolar disorder.

The large dataset and numerous analyses researchers used made their findings strong and reliable, but the study is limited by the unavailability of information like genetic data, said Dr. Natalie Marchant, associate professor in the division of psychiatry at University College London. Marchant was not involved in the research. (…)