Damage to brain vessels increases the chance of dementia and depression

April 13, 2004

Dutch researcher Niels Prins has discovered that elderly people with a lot of damage to the small blood vessels in the brain have a greater chance of developing dementia or depression. The damage is visible on MRI scans as white matter lesions and infarcts of the brain.

Elderly people with serious white matter abnormalities and infarcts were found to deteriorate more quickly in their cognitive functioning than peers with fewer abnormalities. In particular, the processing of information was worse in the group with more white matter lesions and infarcts. This group also had an increased risk of developing dementia and depression.

Over a period of three years, one-third of the elderly people investigated exhibited an increase in white matter lesions. These elderly people had an increased risk of developing a stroke and the cognitive functioning deteriorated more quickly. Furthermore, a serious increase in the number of abnormalities in the white matter increased the risk of dementia and depression.

Prins used data from the Rotterdam Scan Study for his research. This is a long-term population study among more than 1000 healthy volunteers aged 60 years and older, and is a joint initiative from the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Department of Neurology at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam.

All of the participants underwent an MRI scan at the start of the study and 3.5 years later. Together with his colleagues, Prins assessed these scans for the degree of damage to small blood vessels in the brain.

The researchers followed the participants over a period of five years to see whether they developed dementia or depression. The participants also had to perform cognitive tests at various intervals in the study.

Whether the prevention and treatment of damage to the small blood vessels in the brain can prevent dementia and depression in the elderly, is a subject for future research.
-end-
The research was funded by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research.

Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research

Related Depression Articles from Brightsurf:

Children with social anxiety, maternal history of depression more likely to develop depression
Although researchers have known for decades that depression runs in families, new research from Binghamton University, State University of New York, suggests that children suffering from social anxiety may be at particular risk for depression in the future.

Depression and use of marijuana among US adults
This study examined the association of depression with cannabis use among US adults and the trends for this association from 2005 to 2016.

Maternal depression increases odds of depression in offspring, study shows
Depression in mothers during and after pregnancy increased the odds of depression in offspring during adolescence and adulthood by 70%.

Targeting depression: Researchers ID symptom-specific targets for treatment of depression
For the first time, physician-scientists at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center have identified two clusters of depressive symptoms that responded to two distinct neuroanatomical treatment targets in patients who underwent transcranial magnetic brain stimulation (TMS) for treatment of depression.

A biological mechanism for depression
Researchers report that in depressed individuals there are increased amounts of an unmodified structural protein, called tubulin, in lipid rafts compared with non-depressed individuals.

Depression in adults who are overweight or obese
In an analysis of primary care records of 519,513 UK adults who were overweight or obese between 2000-2016 and followed up until 2019, the incidence of new cases of depression was 92 per 10,000 people per year.

Why stress doesn't always cause depression
Rats susceptible to anhedonia, a core symptom of depression, possess more serotonin neurons after being exposed to chronic stress, but the effect can be reversed through amygdala activation, according to new research in JNeurosci.

Which comes first: Smartphone dependency or depression?
New research suggests a person's reliance on his or her smartphone predicts greater loneliness and depressive symptoms, as opposed to the other way around.

Depression breakthrough
Major depressive disorder -- referred to colloquially as the 'black dog' -- has been identified as a genetic cause for 20 distinct diseases, providing vital information to help detect and manage high rates of physical illnesses in people diagnosed with depression.

CPAP provides relief from depression
Researchers have found that continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) can improve depression symptoms in patients suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

Read More: Depression News and Depression Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.