Depression Speeds Up Brain Aging

Posted on May 26, 2018

Researchers at the University of Sussex conducted a robust systematic review of 34 longitudinal studies, with the focus on the link between depression or anxiety and decline in cognitive function over time. Including people who were presented with symptoms of depression as well as those that were diagnosed as clinically depressed, the study looked at the rate of decline of overall cognitive state -- encompassing memory loss, executive function (such as decision making) and information processing speed.

Studies of participants who were diagnosed with dementia at the start of study were excluded from the analysis to assess more broadly the impact of depression on cognitive ageing in the general population. The study found that people with depression experienced a greater decline in cognitive state in older adulthood than those without depression.

According to Dr Gaysina, a Lecturer in Psychology and EDGE Lab Lead, the findings should give the government more reason to take mental health issues seriously and to ensure that health provisions are properly resourced. There is a need to protect the mental well-being of our older adults and to provide robust support services to those experiencing depression and anxiety in order to safeguard brain function in later life.

With populations ageing at a rapid rate and the number of people living with decreasing cognitive abilities and dementia expected to grow substantially over the next thirty years, this study has significant importance in helping to protect cognitive health in adults at an older age.


Source material from Science Daily

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