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Depression in 20s linked to memory loss in 50s: Study suggests


As part of a recent study, a team of psychologists has found that in the 20s can be linked to loss in 50s.

The psychologists analyzed data from the National Child Development Study, which was established in 1958 with a cohort of over 18,000 babies and followed participants from birth into childhood and through to adulthood. The psychologists found that an accumulation of symptoms experienced by participants over the three decades provided a strong indicator of a linear decrease in function by the time the adults were fifty.

They found that one episode of or anxiety had little effect on the function of adults in midlife, regardless of which decade it was experienced, but that once the episodes increased to two or three over the course of the three decades, that this predicted a steady decrease in the participant's memory function by the time they reached fifty.

"We found that the more episodes of people experience in their adulthood, the higher risk of they have later in life. This finding highlights the importance of effective management of depression to prevent the development of recurrent mental problems with long-term negative outcomes," said Darya Gaysina, of the study.

"We'd, therefore, like to see the government investing more in the mental provision for young adults, not only for the immediate benefit of the patients but also to help protect their future brain health," Gaysina explained.

As well as memory, the psychologists also assessed verbal fluency, and accuracy scores of the participants once they turned fifty. Encouragingly, episodes of depression and anxiety had little impact on the latter four areas of cognitive function but the associated loss of memory suggests that depressive symptoms experienced in early adulthood could predict in older adulthood.

Previous research had found a relationship between depressive symptoms experienced in older adulthood and a faster rate of cognitive decline, but this is the first time that such a large and UK nationally sample has been able to make this link in the first three decades of adulthood.

"We knew from previous research that depressive symptoms experienced in mid-adulthood to late adulthood can predict a decline in brain function in later life but we were surprised to see just how clearly persistent depressive symptoms across three decades of adulthood are an important predictor of poorer memory function in mid-life," said Amber John, one of the lead researchers.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Thu, March 21 2019. 14:44 IST