Research links depression to increased dementia risk

To be eligible for Social Security Disability benefits, a person must have had their ability to engage in substantial gainful activity knocked out by a medical condition.

When one thinks of medical conditions that could cause a person to lose the ability to work, one's mind might immediately go to physical impairments. However, these are not the only type of medical conditions that can impact a person's work abilities. Mental impairments can also cause a person to lose the ability to work.

Mental impairments can be every bit as impactful on their victims as physical impairments. Such conditions can have effects on many aspects of a person's life.

One type of mental impairment is depression. Depression can cause a variety of harms to its victims.

Some recent studies have indicated that depression may make people more vulnerable to developing dementia. One of these studies found that individuals who suffered depression when they were over 50 had a near doubling in their risk of developing Alzheimer's-related depression and their risk of developing vascular dementia.

Researchers are now trying to find out what is specifically behind the link between depression and increased risk of dementia. A couple of things that researchers think could possibly be behind this link are the fact that depression is linked with inflammation and the fact that depression is linked with increased bodily production of cortisol.

In their efforts to find what links depression and dementia, researchers hope to find ways to help prevent the development of dementia. It will be interesting to see what results researchers' efforts on this topic ultimately yield.

Source: NPR, "Depression May Increase The Risk Of Dementia Later On," Patti Neighmond, June 24, 2013

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