Bidirectional Link ID'd for Change in Depressive Symptoms, Memory Change

Steeper change in depressive symptoms linked to accelerated memory change and vice versa
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Medically Reviewed By:
Mark Arredondo, M.D.

THURSDAY, June 13, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- A linear change in depressive symptoms is associated with accelerated memory change and vice versa in adults aged 50 years or older, according to a study published online June 11 in JAMA Network Open.

Jiamin Yin, from the University College London, and colleagues examined whether there is a bidirectional association between depressive symptoms and cognitive function in adults aged 50 years or older. The analysis included 8,268 participants with relevant data (mean age, 64 years at baseline; 55 percent women).

The researchers found a cross-sectional association for higher depressive symptoms with poorer memory and verbal fluency (β intercept, −0.018 and −0.009, respectively) at study baseline. There was a significant association for a steeper linear change in depressive symptoms with an accelerated memory change (β intercept, −0.253), and a significant association was seen for a linear change in memory with an acceleration in depressive symptoms over time (β intercept, 0.016). The bidirectional change was not seen with verbal fluency.

"These findings highlight the complex interplay between depressive symptoms and memory loss, underscoring the importance of integrated assessment and treatment approaches in clinical practice and suggesting that early intervention in depressive symptoms could provide a timely opportunity to slow down or delay memory decline in later life," the authors write.

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