Depressed older people risk losing their minds
Oct 9, 2007 - 2:30:12 PM

New York, Oct 9 - Older people who suffer from depression face higher risk of losing intellectual ability, the results of a study conducted in the US show.

Depression is a disorder that affects the functioning of a person in day-to-day life. It is a strong mood involving sadness, discouragement, despair or hopelessness that lasts for weeks, months or even longer.

The study by University of Rochester Medical Centre researchers looked into 700 patients aged 65 years and over for more than two years. The findings of the study suggest that older people who are depressed may be intellectually impaired and lose executive functions, reports science portal EurekAlert.

Researchers looked at loss of executive functions of the participants that involve high-level mental processes such a making decisions, organising, planning and doing a series of things in sequence.

Trained interviewers reviewed each patient's primary care medical chart, recording information about mood and cognitive symptoms, disorders or treatments as well as active and past medical problems and current medications. Psychiatrists and researchers also assessed their levels of cognition, functional status and depression.

The study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry found that depression increased the risk of subsequent mental impairment. The scientists said the depression symptoms could act as predictors of future intellectual decline.

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