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Depressive symptoms are associated with cognitive decline in elderly people, but the nature of their temporal relationship remains equivocal.
To test whether depressive symptoms predict cognitive decline in elderly people with normal cognition.
The Center for Epidemiologic Study depression scale (CES – D) and the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) were used to evaluate depressive symptomatology and cognitive functioning, respectively. A sample of 1003 persons aged 59–71 years and with a MMSE score of 26 or over was selected. Cognitive decline was defined as a drop of at least 3 points on the MMSE at 4-year follow-up.
Baseline high levels of depressive symptoms predicted a higher risk of cognitive decline at 4-year follow-up. The MMSE score of participants with depression was more likely to fall below 26 at 2-year follow-up and to remain below at 4-year follow-up than the MMSE score of those without depressive symptoms. Persistent but not episodic depressive episodes were associated with cognitive decline.
High levels of depressive symptoms, when persistent, are associated with cognitive decline in a sample of elderly people.
The relationship between depression and low blood pressure is unclear.
To examine the temporal relation between low blood pressure and depression in a two-year follow-up.
The study group consisted of 1389 subjects aged 59–71 years; 1272 (92%) were examined after two years. Subjects completed the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression (CES–D) and the Spielberger inventory scales to assess depressive and anxiety symptoms respectively. Data were collected on socio-demographic characteristics, smoking and drinking habits, medical history, drug use and blood pressure measures.
Among 1112 subjects who were considered as non-depressed at baseline, logistic regression models showed that low diastolic blood pressure (DBP) and decrease of blood pressure were predictors of high depressive symptomatology at follow-up. Baseline high CES–D scores did not predict low blood pressure two years after.
In our study, low blood pressure was a risk factor for, but not a consequence of, high depressive symptomatology.
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