Diabetes and Depression May Be Heavily Linked
Mental decline more prevalent among those suffering depression
Diabetes and depression are considered common among older individuals, with as much as 20% of adults having type 2 diabetes having noted depression, according to the study itself. The notations also showed that both of the disorders appear to be associated with an increased risk of dementia.
"Both depression and diabetes have been identified as risk factors for dementia in general and Alzheimer's disease in particular," noted Dr. Marc Gordon, an expert not connected to the new study.
Researchers led by Dr. Mark Sullivan of the University of Washington, Seattle, stated that he tracked over 3,000 individuals and their outcomes. Each had type 2 diabetes, while each was also at high risk for heart disease. Cognitive processes and memory, along with levels of depression, were also gauged at the start of the study. The span of the surveying was over 40 months.
Patients who showed signs of depression had greater mental decline over the course of the study, according to the research outcomes. The effect was not affected by heart disease, age, treatments for other health issues, or intensive treatments for things like blood sugar, according to researchers.
"It is possible that depression is an early manifestation of an underlying disease process that may eventually result in cognitive decline," he said. "It remains to be seen whether this effect is any different from what would be seen in a nondiabetic population, or whether antidepressant treatment would alter the risk of cognitive decline."
A separate expert stated that the study had considerable potential for wider implications regarding the afflictions.
"Previous studies have suggested that one in five older diabetic [patients] may suffer from major depression," noted Dr. Gisele Wolf-Klein, director of geriatric education at the North Shore-LIJ Health System in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She said that the "striking finding" from Sullivan's group "will need further study to see if depression treatment can decrease the risk of cognitive decline in patients with diabetes."
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