Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine have pooled the results of 23 unique studies, comprising data from nearly 50,000 individuals over the age of 50, with the aim of investigating the relationship between depression and dementia. The studies all considered risk factors for the illness, such as age and general health, and the culmination of their results revealed that people with depression had twice the risk of developing vascular dementia.
Because other factors, such as lifestyle and secondary health issues, could have affected the outcome of these previous studies, it’s too soon to draw a definite conclusion from this research. However, the findings, which were published in The British Journal of Psychiatry at the beginning of May, are important for anyone involved in the elderly care industry.
Further research may be needed to validate this result, but regardless of the confirmation of the connection with dementia, depression is a serious condition which can affect a large section of the elderly population, and needs to be dealt with appropriately. It is essential that any elderly person experiencing symptoms of depression receive adequate support from both family and professionals to maintain their health and wellbeing.