Depression in elderly associated with Alzheimer`s risk

ANI| Updated: Jun 10, 2014, 12:01 PM IST

Washington: A new study has revealed that depression builds up beta-amyloid plaque in the brain that could cause Alzheimer's in aged people.

Many people develop depression in the latest stages of life, but until now doctors had no idea that it could point to a build up of a naturally occurring protein in the brain called beta-amyloid, a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease.

Alzheimer's disease is a currently incurable neurodegenerative disease with marked protein aggregates including beta-amyloid and tau. The disease begins developing years before noticeable cognitive decline and memory loss.

On the other hand, depression has been proven to have its own neurodegenerative effects on the brain, but the researchers have found an undeniable connection between beta-amyloid in depressed elderly patients with cognitive deficits and advancement to Alzheimer's disease.

Axel Rominger, MD said that the results clearly indicate that mild cognitively impaired subjects with depressive symptoms suffer from elevated amyloid-levels when compared with non-depressed individuals.

Alzheimer's disease is the most prevalent form of dementia. It is estimated that 44.4 million people are living with dementia worldwide and this number is expected to increase to approximately 75.6 million in 2030.