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New Research Suggests That Depressive Symptoms And Memory Loss Are Linked, And These Conditions Can Mutually Exacerbate Each Other As We Age

Kateryna - stock.adobe.com - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Occasional forgetfulness and periods of sadness are fairly common as we age.

But, a new study has uncovered a perhaps shocking link between depressive symptoms and memory loss, indicating that these conditions can mutually exacerbate each other over time.

“Our study shows that the relationship between depression and poor memory cuts both ways, with depressive symptoms preceding memory decline and memory decline linked to subsequent depressive symptoms,” said Dr. Dorina Cadar, one of the study’s authors.

These findings suggest that early identification and treatment of depression might be crucial for safeguarding brain health and maintaining memory as we get older.

The research, led by a team from University College London and Brighton and Sussex Medical School, analyzed data from more than 8,000 participants over 50 years old from the English Longitudinal Study of Aging. These participants were monitored for up to 16 years, with regular assessments of their verbal fluency, memory, and depressive symptoms.

The researchers used advanced statistical modeling techniques to investigate whether depressive symptoms and cognitive performance impacted each other over time.

They examined both the immediate cross-sectional associations as well as the long-term reciprocal effects. They also accounted for various health, lifestyle, and demographic factors.

The findings showed just how interconnected depressive symptoms and memory decline are. Individuals with more depressive symptoms tended to perform worse on memory and verbal fluency tests at any given time.

Additionally, the relationship extended even further. Throughout the study, participants who initially had more depressive symptoms experienced a quickened rate of memory decline compared to those with fewer depressive symptoms.

Kateryna – stock.adobe.com – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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