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Researchers Find Clues That Depression May Speed Brain Aging

(AP) — Scientists are peeking inside living brains to tell if depression might worsen the natural decline in memory and thinking skills as people age — and they are finding some worrisome clues.

Depression has long been linked to certain cognitive problems, and depression late in life may be a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer's. It's not clear how.

But brain cells communicate by firing messages across connections called synapses, and Yale University researchers used a new brain scanning technique to check the levels of people's synapses. They discovered that patients with mid-life depression had significantly lower synaptic density than healthy people the same age.

It's a small study, and doesn't prove depression was the cause. Researchers next plan to track people over time to measure changes in synapse levels.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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