Background. Little is known about the effects of depression on the mortality rates of elderly subjects
Methods. Logistic regression analysis, adjusting for possible confounders, was used to study the
associations between GMS-AGECAT derived syndrome and symptom measures and 12-month
mortality rates in a cohort of 73 elderly subjects who met the DSM-III-R criteria of dementia with
a median MMSE score of 19.
Results. Twenty-three subjects (32%) died within the 12 month follow-up period. A baseline
diagnosis of syndromal or subsyndromal depression was associated with increased mortality. At the
symptom level mortality was predicted by higher scores on the factor ‘mood symptoms’. The effects
of interactions between depression measures and severity of dementia were not significant.
Conclusions. Short-term mortality in elderly subjects with less severe dementia is predicted by the
presence of (sub) syndromal depression and by mood symptoms. The effects of depression and
severity of dementia on the mortality rates seem to be largely independent.