Narrator: This is Science Today. Sudden depression in older adults could be a sign of cognitive impairment, which could lead to dementia. Those were the findings of a ten year study led by the University of California , San Francisco . Psychiatry professor Deborah Barnes explains.
Barnes: What we found was that in older adults who didn't have any type of cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study, those older adults who had some depressive symptoms at the beginning were more likely to develop cognitive impairment over time.
Narrator: The results showed that after six years, older adults who had strong symptoms of depression were twice as likely to develop mild cognitive impairment.
Barnes: The older adults who had some high depressive symptoms at the beginning of the study, about 20% of them developed cognitive problems during follow-up, compared to only 10% in the group of older adults that didn't have any depressive symptoms in the beginning.
Narrator: Half of the patients who develop mild cognitive impairment will eventually develop dementia. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.