Depression Could Worsen Mental Decline in Heart
MONDAY, March 5 (HealthDay News) -- Older people with heart
disease who have undergone a cardiac catheterization may be at much
greater risk for mental decline if they also show persistent signs
of depression, according to a new study.
Researchers from the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada,
followed 350 patients aged 60 or older who had a nonemergency
catheterization and found those who had persistent symptoms of
depression experienced significantly greater mental decline 30
months after their procedure.
Being depressed within the first year after surgery was a
significant risk factor for continued decline over the next 18
months. Lead researcher Elizabeth Freiheit and her colleagues found
mental declines were most severe for people with a specific gene
form -- the apolipoprotein E epsilon-4 allele -- which is believed
to be a genetic risk factor for Alzheimer's disease.
For patients with heart disease, "these findings illustrate the
need for longer-term monitoring of depressive-symptom severity and
change by clinicians and other caregivers," the study authors said
in a university news release.
The study will be published in the March issue of the
Archives of General Psychiatry.
Although an association between depression and mental decline
was seen in these patients, it does not necessarily confirm a
The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health provides more
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