A study conducted by researchers at Umeå University in Sweden and published in the journal Neurology says that people who suffer from depression are more prone to develop Parkinson’s disease.
140.000 people were involved in the study. They had been diagnosed with depression between 1987 and 2012. By the end of 2005 the participants in the study were at least 50 years old. They were matched with three people of the same age and gender who had not suffered from depression. The total number of control participants was 421,718. The participants were observed for 26 years. The findings of the study indicated that 1% of the people suffering from depression were also diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, whereas in the case of those without depression only 0.4% of them developed the disease. Parkinson’s disease was identified 4.5 years after the study began and the likelihood of the disease development decreased over time.
Study co-author Professor Peter Nordström said that depression could be a very early symptom of Parkinson’s disease or a risk factor. He also noted that even in the case of people with depression Parkinson’s disease was not common. However Nordström believes that this link should be further investigated because the new study contributes to a growing body of research which connects Parkinson’s disease with a series of other health conditions and even with personality traits. Such a study was presented in 2012 at the American Academy of Neurology meeting and according to it cautious individuals who avoid taking risks are more likely to develop Parkinson’s diseases.
Vice president of scientific affairs at the U.S. Parkinson’s Disease Foundation James Beck was not involved in the study but he remarked that what the study has discovered does not necessarily mean that Parkinson’s is caused by depression. However he pointed out that the more important message was that Parkinson’s and depression go hand in hand.
The researchers also noted that the participants who suffered from depression were 3.2 times more exposed to develop Parkinson’s than those without depression. After 15-25 years the investigators discovered that participants with depression were nearly 50% more likely to develop the disease. Moreover, if the depression was severe the likelihood of getting Parkinson’s was also higher. Patients who had been hospitalized for depression more than five times were 40% more likely to develop the condition than patients who had been hospitalized only once for depression.
The researchers also speculated that the antidepressants or antipsychotics used in treating depression could also raise a person’s risk of developing Parkinson’s.
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