New research has shown that depression can potentially negatively affect memory, in addition to mood. Adina Zeki Al Hazzouri, of the University of Miami, said that as symptoms of depression can be overcome, it may be possible that treatment can also reduce thinking and memory problems.
Researchers also found that the brain structure of older people with more severe depressive symptoms was different from those who were not depressed. The survey included more than 1,100 people, mean age 71 years, with no history of stroke. They were subjected to memory and thought examinations at the beginning of the survey, as well as 5 years later.
At baseline, 22% of participants had greater depressive symptoms and lower scores in episodic memory tests. However, the investigation did not prove a causal relationship. Those with greater symptoms of depression also had a smaller brain size and were 55% more likely to have minor vascular lesions in the brain.
There was no indication of a relationship between greater symptoms of depression and changes in memory abilities for more than 5 years.