“Our findings offer evidence that in healthy older adults, depression symptoms together with brain amyloid may be associated with early changes in memory and in thinking,” explained Ms Gatchel.
She continued: “Depression symptoms themselves may be among the early changes in the preclinical stages of dementia syndromes. Just as importantly, these stages represent a clinical window of opportunity for closely monitoring at-risk individuals and for potentially introducing interventions to prevent or slow cognitive decline.”
Mass General researchers also learned from their extensive work that not all older adults with depression symptoms and cortical amyloid will experience failing cognition.
Other risk factors investigated by the authors that could modify the relationship between depression and cognition include brain metabolism and volume of the hippocampus – the part of the brain associated with learning and forming of new memories.