depression

Depression linked to faster cognitive decline in older adults

  • A review of 34 studies confirms depression is linked to faster cognitive decline in older adults.

A review of 34 longitudinal studies, involving 71,244 older adults, has concluded that depression is associated with greater cognitive decline.

The study included people who presented with symptoms of depression as well as those that were diagnosed as clinically depressed, but excluded any who were diagnosed with dementia at the start of study.

Previous research has found that depression is associated with an increased dementia risk.

The researchers recommend that preventative measures such as exercising, practicing mindfulness, and undertaking recommended therapeutic treatments, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, might help protect cognitive health.

While the review included some studies into anxiety, the numbers were insufficient to draw a conclusion.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2018-05/uos-dsu052318.php

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Sleep apnea linked to problems recalling specific autobiographical details

  • The connection between sleep apnea and depression may lie in a problem with autobiographical memory.

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep.

People with OSA are known to suffer memory problems and also have higher rates of depression.

A new study connects the two by finding that people with untreated OSA had problems recalling specific details about their lives. Previous research has established that persistent depression is associated with overly general autobiographical memories, where people don't remember many specific details of life events.

It may be that sleep apnea impairs the ability to either encode or consolidate certain types of life memories.

The study, involvidng 44 adults with untreated OSA and 44 healthy age-matched controls (average age 49), found that those with OSA had significantly more overgeneral memories: 52.3% compared with 18.9% of the controls.

OSA participants also had significantly poorer semantic recall of early adult life (facts from your personal history, like the names of your school teachers).

Across both groups, being older was associated with having a higher number of overgeneral autobiographical memories while higher depression was linked to having worse semantic memory.

https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-01/ru-sac013119.php

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