Dementia risk 73% higher for people with these symptoms in early adulthood, UCSF study says

Depression in young adulthood may increase the risk of cognitive impairment in old age, a new UCSF study has found.

The study — which used predictive models to determine lifelong depressive symptoms — found that the odds of cognitive impairment were 73% higher for those estimated to have increased depressive symptoms in early adulthood, and 43% higher for those who were estimated to have had increased depressive symptoms in early adulthood. estimated to have increased depressive symptoms in middle and later life.

The findings may create a new sense of urgency in treating young people with depression as it has the potential to help them later in life – especially as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to take its toll on the mental health of people. young people.

“It’s an important time to be aware of mental health,” said Dr. Willa Brenowitz, the study’s lead author, adding that it is imperative to recognize that mental health has a significant impact on physical health.

“One of the key questions is whether identifying people with depression and treating it, especially early in life, could improve brain aging outcomes, such as the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias,” he said. dr. Kristine Yaffe, a senior author of the study. .

For Brenowitz, that potential for prevention could be life-changing.

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