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Unraveling the link between depression and dementia (FWOTM972)

Depression and dementia are common and debilitating conditions.
The amount of patients and care providers confronted with these
illnesses is expected to rise significantly due to aging populations, posing a significant individual and societal burden. Current research suggests depression may be a risk factor for the development of dementia in some people, as well as that it may be the first symptom of dementia in others, while possibly being unrelated to each other in other individual cases.

A lot has changed in recent years concerning the diagnosis of diseases like Alzheimer’s, with specific biomarkers being able to detect its pathology years before the onset of memory problems. After an analysis of currently available studies, we therefore will analyse a large database of people that have undergone psychological evaluations as well as the aforementioned tests. This way, we will evaluate whether certain useful links between depressive symptoms, imaging and lab tests, and later dementia arise. In a next stage, we will try to confirm these findings in clinical study that will include elderly volunteers with depression, subjects with Alzheimer’s disease, and cognitively healthy elderly.

Given the worldwide importance of dementia prevention, together with the knowledge that future anti-Alzheimer drugs should be initiated as soon as possible in the disease process, we endeavor to identify those depressed people at risk of a later ‘conversion’ to dementia.
Date:1 Nov 2019 →  1 May 2023
Keywords:Depression, Dementia, Alzheimer's disease
Disciplines:Behavioural neuroscience, Cognitive neuroscience