Depression and Parkinson's Disease May Be Linked


Long-term research from Sweden suggests a link between depression and Parkinson's disease.

"Our findings suggest a direct association between depression and subsequent [Parkinson's disease]," write the Swedish authors of a new study, who go on to say that depression may be a very early symptom of, or a risk factor for, the movement disorder.

Parkinson's disease is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that affects how a person moves, including how they speak and write. As well as problems with movement, Parkinson's disease can also cause cognitive problems, neurobehavioral problems and sensory difficulties.

The study premise is that depression is more common in people with PD, and that it is a significant factor when considering quality of life and that it may contribute to a more rapid deterioration of cognitive and motor functions.

The question then was whether there was anything to this association when considered long-term.

For the study, the researchers used a cohort consisting of all Swedish citizens aged 50 years and above as of December 31st, 2005. From this group, they then took the 140,688 people diagnosed with depression between 1987 and 2012.

They were then paired with 421,718 matched controls with no history of depression. All participants were followed for up to 26 years.

A total of 1,485 people with depression (1.1 percent) developed PD during this time, compared with 1,775 of those who did not have depression (0.4 percent).

The researchers calculated that participants with depression were 3.2 times more likely than those without depression to develop Parkinson's disease within a year of the study beginning. After 15-25 years, the researchers found participants with depression were almost 50% more likely to develop the condition.

Other findings included the fact that the greater the severity of depression, the higher the risk of developing PD, and that there was no link found between one sibling having PD and another's risk of developing it as well.

It is important to note that this study was an observational study. It did not attempt to determine causation, or whether depression actually could cause PD.

Source: MNT

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