A recent report from the Women’s Health Initiative MRI Study finds the relationship between depressive symptoms and regional brain volumes with increased subclinical cerebrovascular disease in women past the menopausal transition.
A total of 18% the women met the criteria signifying elevated depression and of those depressed, the women had lower cognitive function and were more likely to have a history of prior hormone therapy. Elevated depressive signs were associated with lower superior, middle and inferior frontal and lateral orbital volumes, relative to the reference cohort. After adjusting for demographic, lifestyle, baseline cognitive function, cardiovascular risk factors, hormone replacement therapy, and antidepressant use, a significant difference remained between the depressed and non depressed women. The findings add to the increasing body of evidence that late life depression is both associated with an increased risk of mild cognitive impairment and dementia in the elderly, and is associated with brain volume changes.