People suffer from depression at all stages of life, but recent studies have shown that it can be particularly devastating in those in mid-life or later. Researchers concluded that there is a correlation between people having depression and those developing dementia. In fact, they believe that a senior has a 20% greater risk of dementia if they were depressed in mid-life, a 70% greater risk if depression hit during their older years, and an 80% increased risk if they had both. Since both conditions are related to the cognitive processes of the mind, it is not surprising that there could be a link.
Research has been going on for enough years for researchers to reach concluding. In northern California, a study was begun dating clear back to 1964. Between the sunset of the study and 1973, behavioral information, basic statistics, and medical histories were compiled on 13,535 individuals. This database was initially pared down to only those people suffering from depression. These same individuals were analyzed again between 1993 and 2009. Depressive symptoms were discovered in 14.1% of patients during mid-life, 9.2% during late life, and 4.2% that were depressed in both.
The findings were significant enough to make researchers believe that 80% of the people who were depressed from middle age onward were going to contract Alzheimer's later in life. Although they admit that further testing is needed, the information from this study opened a lot of possibilities for researchers who are working on finding a cure for dementia. With statistics indicating that 1 out of 8 elderly Americans has Alzheimer's, a number that is going to increase, there is room for worry and every reason to try and find ways to prevent it from happening. Every year around $ 200 billion is spent on Alzheimer's patients, and so far there is not even a way to slow the progress of the disease.
With these findings, the question aros, “If depression is valued in mid-life, will it lessen the individual's risk of Alzheimer's in later years?” It's definitely a subject that needs to be given every priority. Baby boomers are aging rapidly, and with an estimated 79 million of them getting approaching old age, the number of possible Alzheimer's cases is staggering. By applying the 1 in 8 equation to that generation alone, we could be seeing almost 1 million new cases in the next two decades. There's no way that so many should have to suffer, and the rest of us can not afford to care and pay for this dementia epidemic.