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Medical News & Perspectives
September 11, 2018

Exploring the Relationship Between Depression and Dementia

JAMA. 2018;320(10):961-962. doi:10.1001/jama.2018.11154

Diagnosing and treating depression in people with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or with dementia presents special challenges, but doing so can improve the quality of their lives as well as the lives of their caregivers and, in the case of MCI, might even delay progression to dementia.

Researchers are still trying to tease out the relationship between depression and dementia. While depression does not appear to cause dementia, it likely is a risk factor, just as dementia is a risk factor for depression, said George Alexopoulos, MD, founder and director of the Weill-Cornell Institute of Geriatric Psychiatry. At least 20% of people with dementia develop a depressive syndrome, Alexopoulos said.