Late-life Depression Modifies the Association Between Cerebral White Matter Hyperintensities and Functional Decline Among Older Adults.
Vascular lesions seen through brain imaging as hyperintensities are associated with both depression and functional impairment in older adults. Our objective was to determine if the relationship between the volume of cerebral white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) and functional decline differed in the presence of late life depression.Secondary analysis of data collected through the Neurocognitive Outcomes of Depression Study. Analysis techniques included general linear mixed models examining trajectories of functional change predicted by lesion volume at baseline.381 participants (244 patients diagnosed with major depression and 137 never depressed comparison participants) ages 60 years and older followed for up to 16 years.WMH volume was measured through analysis of brain magnetic resonance imaging data. Functional limitations included difficulties with basic activities of daily living tasks, instrumental activities of daily living tasks, and mobility.Those participants who were both depressed and had a higher volume of WMHs at baseline were most at risk for functional decline across all measures of function. Among the never depressed, those with a higher WMH volume at baseline had a more accelerated rate of functional decline than those with lower WMH volume, and those who were depressed with lower volume of WMH started with more limitations than the never depressed but appeared to progress at a rate similar to those who were never depressed with lower WMH.Older patients with both cerebrovascular risk factors and depression are at an increased risk for functional decline, and may benefit from the treatment of both conditions.
Hybels, CF; Pieper, CF; Payne, ME; Steffens, DC
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