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Depression may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s

August 3, 2009 by  

Depression may increase the risk of Alzheimer'sNew research has provided more reasons for those who combat depression to seek help, such as alternative medical treatments, because it has shown that depressed individuals are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Alzheimer’s is a progressive neurodegenerative disease for which there is currently no cure. It typically affects those who are over the age of 65, but early onset cases have also been recorded.

The new study, conducted by UCLA scientists, recruited a group of 756 people between the ages of 55 and 91 who had mild cognitive impairment and followed their progress over the span of three years.

During that time, a total of 208 were diagnosed with depression, and the researchers noted that for every one-point increase on the test that measures the severity and intensity of depressive symptoms, the risk of developing Alzheimer’s went up by 3 percent.

Po H. Lu, an assistant professor of neurology and a member of the UCLA Mary S. Easton Center for Alzheimer’s Disease Research, says "Our longer-term findings add to the body of evidence that suggests depression is a major risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease."

Those who would like to avoid expensive medications that may produce undesirable side effects have a range of alternative medicine options to select from, including herbal remedies such as St. John’s wort extract to combat the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

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