Depression late in life could become a major risk factor for developing Alzheimer's disease faster than others, German researchers reported at the Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging (SNMMI) annual meeting.
A team led by Dr. Axel Rominger, of the University of Munich in Germany, found that subjects with mild cognitive impairment and depressive symptoms had elevated amyloid levels, compared with nondepressed individuals. Subjects were selected from the Alzheimer's Disease Neuroimaging Initiative database.
The retrospective study included 371 patients with mild cognitive impairment who had received florbetapir-PET and MRI. Patients with depressive symptoms had higher amyloid deposition as indicated by binding of the radiotracer to amyloid, particularly in the frontal cortex and the anterior and posterior cingulate gyrus of the brain.
The combination of elevated amyloid levels and coexisting depressive symptoms constitute a patient population with a high risk for faster progression to Alzheimer's disease, Rominger said in a statement.