Studying a Correlation Between Depressive Symptoms and Stroke Risk

From Psychiatric News Alert: Persistent symptoms of depression in adults ages 50 and older may double their risk for stroke, according to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

A possible connection between depressive symptoms and stroke risk

A possible connection between depressive symptoms and stroke risk

Researchers from Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health analyzed medical records of more than 16,000 older adults who participated in the Health and Retirement Study, which included interviews about depressive symptoms, history of stroke, and stroke risks factors.

Nearly 2,000 strokes were reported, and individuals displaying high levels of depressive symptoms during two consecutive interviews were more than twice as likely to experience a stroke during the subsequent two years. Even people who had depressive symptoms at the first interview but not the second showed a 66% higher stroke risk.

Said lead author Paola Gilsanz, Sc.D, a postdoctoral research fellow at Harvard, in a press release:

“This is the first study evaluating how changes in depressive symptoms predict changes in stroke risk. If replicated, these findings suggest that clinicians should seek to identify and treat depressive symptoms as close to onset as possible, before harmful effects on stroke risk start to accumulate.”

To read more about the relationship between depression and stroke, see the Psychiatric News article “Collaborative Care for Depression Can Reduce Risk for Heart Attacks, Strokes.”

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