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Depression may double dementia risk, say researchers
Having depression may nearly double the risk of developing dementia later in life, new research suggests.


The article says:
Now two studies published in the American journal Neurology suggest depression does mean dementia is more likely, although they do not show why.
And the researchers stress that the findings merely reveal a link, not a direct cause.

Even not causal, a link is a link, and the findings show that those who are depressed are more likely to develop dementia.

On the other hand, Her study, which followed 949 elderly people for 17 years, showed dementia more often followed a bout of depression. By the end of the study, 164 of the people had developed dementia. Specifically, 22% of those who had depression went on to develop dementia compared to 17% of those who did not have depression.
Those numbers are very close. I'd have to see the study itself, but it's entirely possible that the results don't actually mean anything. Plus, 17 years following elderly people? They should be saying something more like "depression after age 40 doubles dementia risk".

So maybe it means something, but it could just as likely be complete shit. Which I think makes this entry completely pointless, as I started writing it all "oh noes!" and then, as I perused the article to copypaste important points, realised that the results aren't really significant enough to worry about.

If there's one class I'll never regret taking, it's epidemiology. You can have two studies that say the exact opposite, and it's important to remember that these things need to be taken with a grain of salt. I guess.

That said, the headline still freaked me out a little.

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February 2011
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