People taking an antidepressant after the age of 50 are & THREE TIMES MORE chance of dementia because they can cause nerve damage & # 39;
- Experts found that the rate of dementia was 3.4 times higher among users of antidepressants
- They suggested that the impact of the pills on the patient's brain could be to blame
- But a researcher said that depression can be an early sign of brain damage from dementia
People who take antidepressants in middle or old age are three times as likely to develop dementia, a study shows.
Antidepressants can damage or kill crucial nerve cells in the brain, researchers suggested as part of a study involving more than 71,000 people.
Dementia rates were found to be 3.4 times higher in people who underwent drugs after the age of 50.
The findings should encourage people and doctors to weigh the risks and benefits of treatment with antidepressants, the researchers said.
But one expert warned that scientists are increasingly believing that depression is perhaps an early symptom of dementia and a consequence of years of changes in the brain, meaning that treatment should not be avoided.
Researchers suggested using antidepressants that could cause nerve damage or be toxic to healthy brain cells, but one expert said MailOnline scientists are increasingly believing that depression can be an early sign of dementia (stock image)
Researchers from Israel, Sweden and New York studied a group of 71,515 real patients in Israel over the course of 10 years between 2002 and 2012.
All people in the study were older than 60 in 2012 and in 2002 dementia was not diagnosed.
They were split into groups of those who had taken antidepressants during the decade (3,688 people) and those who had not taken them (67,827).
In the anti-depressant group, 11 percent of people developed dementia before the end of the study – a total of 407 people.
In the group that did not take the pills, that percentage was only 2.6 percent (1769 people).
When the results were adjusted to make them fair, the dementia risk of people in the antidepressant group was 3.4 times higher.
The overall percentage of dementia is around five to six percent, which means that people have a one in twenty chance of getting it – but some groups are at higher risk than others.
& # 39; Our study results indicate that exposure to antidepressants in old age can increase the risk of dementia & # 39 ;, said the researchers, led by Dr. Stephen Levine from the University of Haifa in Israel.
They reported that they could not get more specific results on types of drugs, although they only included people who were treated with a single type of drug.
In the newspaper they added: & # 39; Clinicians, healthcare providers and patients may consider this potential negative consequence of antidepressant exposure with the aim of balancing the adverse events and the symptomatic benefits of … antidepressants in old age.
The research suggested that the drugs could cause nerve damage, stop the growth of nerve cells, or be toxic to normal cells in the brain.
However, an expert said the finding should not be used to prevent people from taking antidepressants, and the link may even go the other way.
Professor Rob Howard, an expert in aging psychiatry at University College London, told MailOnline: & # 39; depression used to be thought to be a risk factor for dementia, but if you look at the longer term, more than 20 years before someone develops dementia , that is not the case.
& # 39; It appears to be only proximal in the diagnosis of dementia and people with depression have probably had progressive (brain damage) for a number of years.
& # 39; We increasingly see depression as a (sign of) Alzheimer's disease in the brain. & # 39;
Professor Howard added research must be carefully presented to & # 39; terrifying & # 39; to prevent people who are most in need of antidepressant treatment.
The Israeli researchers published their study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.
WHAT IS DEMENTIA? THE DEADLY DISEASE THAT ROBERS SUFFER FROM THEIR MEMORIES
Dementia is a collective name used to describe a series of neurological disorders
A GLOBAL CONCERN
Dementia is an umbrella term used to describe a series of progressive neurological disorders, that is, disorders affecting the brain.
There are many different forms of dementia, of which Alzheimer's is the most common.
Some people may have a combination of forms of dementia.
Regardless of which type is diagnosed, each person will experience his dementia in his own unique way.
Dementia is a global concern, but it is most often seen in richer countries, where people are likely to grow old.
HOW MANY PEOPLE ARE AFFECTED?
The Alzheimer's & # 39; s Society reports that today more than 850,000 people with dementia live in the UK, more than 500,000 of whom have Alzheimer's.
It is estimated that the number of people with dementia in the UK will increase to more than 1 million in 2025.
In the US, it is estimated that there are 5.5 million people with Alzheimer's disease. A comparable percentage increase is expected in the coming years.
As the age of a person increases, so does the risk of developing dementia.
The diagnosis rates are improving, but many people with dementia are thought to have not yet been diagnosed.
IS THERE A CURE?
There is currently no cure for dementia.
But new drugs can slow progression and the sooner it is seen, the more effective the treatments are.
Source: Dementia UK
. (TagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) health (t) depression