Depression Before Parkinson's Disease?

Depression may sometimes precede Parkinson's disease, a
new study shows.

The researchers -- who included Miguel Hernan, MD, DrPH, of the Harvard
School of Public Health -- used a medical database of more than 3 million
people in the U.K.

The researchers compared data on 1,052 Parkinson's disease patients to more
than 6,600 people of similar backgrounds who didn't have Parkinson's

Prescription data show that people currently taking antidepressants were
nearly twice as likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson's disease as people who
had never used antidepressants.

The pattern applied to people taking selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors
(SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants. Past use of antidepressants wasn't
linked to Parkinson's disease, the study shows.

However, "this should not be interpreted as evidence that
antidepressants cause Parkinson's disease," Hernan says in an American
Academy of Neurology news release.

The findings were limited to antidepressant use in the year before
Parkinson's diagnosis, "suggesting that depression can be an early
symptom" of Parkinson's disease, write the researchers.

The study doesn't prove that depression causes Parkinson's disease. It also
doesn't mean that depression always leads to Parkinson's disease.

The study will be presented in Boston on May 1 at the American Academy of
Neurology's annual meeting.

By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang
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