Dementia risk estimates associated with measures of depression: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Cherbuin, N. et al. BMJ Open 2015;5:e008853

Objectives To perform a systematic review of reported HRs of all cause dementia, Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and vascular dementia (VaD) for late-life depression and depressive symptomatology on specific screening instruments at specific thresholds.

 

Results Searches yielded 121 301 articles, of which 36 (0.03%) were eligible. Included studies provided a combined sample size of 66 532 individuals including 6593 cases of dementia, 2797 cases of AD and 585 cases of VaD. The increased risk associated with depression did not significantly differ by type of dementia and ranged from 83% to 104% for diagnostic thresholds consistent with major depression. Risk associated with continuous depression symptomatology measures were consistent with those for clinical thresholds.

 

Conclusions Late-life depression is consistently and similarly associated with a twofold increased risk of dementia. The precise risk estimates produced in this study for specific instruments at specified thresholds will assist evidence-based medicine and inform policy on this important population health issue.

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