When depression and memory loss become a vicious cycle


New research has shed light on the degree to which healthy memory is tied to mental health. — dpa

Depression can contribute to memory loss and vice-versa, according to researchers who studied around 8,200 British people over two decades.

The team found “linear change in depressive symptoms” to have “contributed to accelerated memory loss” among the participating group, which was made up of people aged 50 and up, and with a mean age of 64.

But not only does depression affect memory, the reverse appears also true, the researchers reported, in a paper published by the American Medical Association.

“A steeper change in memory was also reciprocally associated with a more rapid change in depressive symptoms over time,” according to the British-American team, which included scientists and doctors from University College London, University of Rochester Medical Center, and Brighton and Sussex Medical Schools.

“Psychological mood and memory performance are intrinsically associated,” the researchers explained, pointing out that although cognitive dysfunction had previously been linked to depression, “the directionality of this association” was unclear.

Participants were examined every second year between 2002 and 2019, using measurements such as memory and verbal fluency tests, as well as a depressive symptoms evaluation format provided by the US Center for Epidemiologic Studies. – dpa

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