Scientists from the University of Connecticut found a new biomarker to detect late-life depression in older people.
Major depression in older adults is very common, disabling, and increases the risk of many diseases of aging, including Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, cardiovascular issues, and even mortality.
Therefore, it constitutes a major public health issue, especially considering the growing number of older adults in the U.S. and worldwide.
Many older adults with depression do not experience full resolution of their depressive symptoms with antidepressant treatment.
Improving or achieving full resolution of depression in older adults is a major clinical challenge, and approximately 50% of patients experience persistent depressive symptoms after antidepressant treatment.
The persistence of depressive symptoms becomes a source of depleted psychological well-being, increased disability, accelerated cognitive decline, and premature aging in older adults.
Therefore, identifying the mechanisms and factors associated with treatment outcomes in this population is key for improving therapeutics and identifying those individuals for whom antidepressant treatment would be more effective.
In the study, the team tested the hypothesis that biological changes that occur with aging are one of the mechanisms of poor treatment outcomes in older adults with depression.
They found new biomarker index scores were strongly linked to a lower risk of the full resolution of the depressive symptoms after antidepressant treatment.
These findings are important because they highlight the importance of age-related biological abnormalities as a potential mechanism related to treatment resistance to antidepressants in older adults.
This study opens up new possibilities to find alternative interventions to improve the odds of responding to antidepressant treatment in older people.
Future work may test whether senolytic drugs can improve rates of treatment remission in older adults with depression.
Also, the measurement of the SASP index biomarkers can help to identify those individuals in which treatment would be futile at the treatment outset.
If you care about depression, please read studies about supplements that could reduce depression, and anxiety, depression should not be taken as a mental disease.
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The research was published in JAMA Network Open and conducted by Dr. Breno Diniz et al.
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