May 20, 2015

People With Depression More Likely to Develop Parkinson’s Disease

MINNEAPOLIS -- May 20, 2015 -- People with depression may be more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease, according to a large study published in the May 20, 2015, online issue of the journal Neurology.

“We saw this link between depression and Parkinson’s disease over a timespan of more than two decades, so depression may be a very early symptom of Parkinson’s disease or a risk factor for the disease,” said Peter Nordström, PhD, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.

The researchers also examined siblings, and found no link between one sibling having depression and the other having Parkinson’s disease.

“This finding gives us more evidence that these 2 diseases are linked,” said Dr. Nordström. “If the diseases were independent of each other but caused by the same genetic or early environmental factors, then we would expect to see the two diseases group together in siblings, but that didn’t happen.”

For the study, researchers started with all Swedish citizens aged 50 years and older at the end of 2005. From that, they took the 140,688 people who were diagnosed with depression from 1987 to 2012. These people were then matched with 3 control participants of the same sex and year of birth who had not been diagnosed with depression, for a total of 421,718 control participants.

The participants were then followed for up to 26 years. During this time, 1,485 people with depression developed Parkinson’s disease (1.1%), while 1,775 people (0.4%) of those who did not have depression developed Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease was diagnosed an average of 4.5 years after the start of the study. The likelihood of developing Parkinson’s disease decreased over time. People with depression were 3.2 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease within 1 year after the study started than people who did not have depression. By 15 to 25 years after the study started, people with depression were about 50% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.

People with more serious cases of depression were also more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease. People who had been hospitalised for depression 5 or more times were 40% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than people who had been hospitalised for depression only 1 time. People who had been hospitalised for depression were also 3.5 times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease than people who had been treated for depression as outpatients.

The link between depression and Parkinson’s disease did not change when researchers adjusted for other conditions related to depression, such as traumatic brain injury, stroke, and alcohol and drug abuse.

SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology
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