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C. Depressed Older Adults are at Higher Risk of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Narrator: This is Science Today. Mild cognitive impairment is a decline in cognitive function that's considered a transition stage between changes due to normal aging and dementia. New findings suggest that older adults with depressive symptoms are more likely than those without depression to develop mild cognitive impairment within six years. Dr. Deborah Barnes, an assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of California , San Francisco , led the study.

Barnes: This was part of a study called the Cardiovascular Health Study of almost six thousand older adults who were interviewed every year for ten years. And what we did was we identified a group that didn't have any cognitive problems at the beginning of the study and we looked to see which of those people were depressed and which were not depressed and then we followed them over time to see who developed cognitive problems over time.

Narrator: Those with depressive symptoms at the beginning of the study were twice as likely as those without symptoms to develop mild cognitive impairment after six years. For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.