Not feeling like your usual, upbeat self? Your cloudy mood may be a sign a bigger storm is brewing. Depression appears to be one of the earliest symptoms of dementia—a symptom that settles in well ahead of any memory problems, shows a new Neurology study.
The study team asked about 2,400 healthy adults (all over age 50) to answer questions about their mental and physical health. After 7 years, the researchers followed up to find out how many people had developed signs of dementia.
The people who’d started showing signs of dementia during those 7 years were twice as likely to have reported feeling depressed at the start of the study. It’s possible the underlying causes of depression may be wrapped up with the underlying causes of dementia and Alzheimer’s, the study authors say—though they’re quick to point out that hasn’t yet been proved. In fact, many of the non-dementia sufferers—nearly 15%—also showed signs of depression at the start of the experiment. So while feeling down in the dumps is worth keeping an eye on if you’re concerned about dementia (and your overall quality of life), it’s far from a sure sign the disease will settle in.
I – Word understanding
cloudy mood – depression
a storm is brewing – there is going to be a trouble or emotional upset
II – Have Your Say
How much do you know about dementia?
Here are 5 more surprising early signs of dementia:
1. Your taste buds change – craving very different kind of foods
New criminal behaviors—stealing, trespassing, driving violations—may be an early sign of dementia, 2. especially a front-brain variation of the disease called frontotemporal dementia (FTD)
3. Inability to detect lies, sarcasm and other forms of insincere speech
4. Decrease in walking speed
5. Hoarding and other compulsive behaviors