Depression Linked To Increased Risk Of Parkinson's Disease

Depression is associated with an increased risk for Parkinson’s disease, a new study reports, and the more severe the depression, the higher the risk.

Swedish researchers compared 140,688 people with depression with 421,943 controls without the disorder. 

They followed the group for an average of seven years, and in some cases as long as 25 years, and found 3,260 cases of Parkinson’s.

The study, in Neurology, found that the rate of Parkinson’s disease among people with depression was almost three times that of people without it. 

Related - Getting More Exercise May Prevent Depression.

Among people with depression, those who were hospitalized and those whose depression was recurrent were at higher risk, suggesting that the more severe the depression the greater the risk.

The lead author of the study, Peter Nordstrom, a professor of geriatrics at Umea University in Sweden, said the effect is small and detectable only in a large population, and that most people with depression will never get Parkinson’s. 

Whether depression is a risk factor for Parkinson’s or an early symptom of the illness is unknown.

“It could be that depression damages the brain, causing the increase in Parkinson’s,” Dr. Nordstrom said.

“Or it could also be that very early in Parkinson’s, we are more prone to depression. It’s impossible to say.”

From NY Times

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