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Depression Triples Parkinson's Risk, Study

Update Date: Oct 02, 2013 04:32 PM EDT
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Depression may increase a person's risk of Parkinson's disease, according to a new study.

Researchers found that people who are depressed have triple the risk of developing neurodegenerative disorder.

"Depression is linked in other studies to illnesses such as cancer and stroke," study author Albert C. Yang, MD, PhD, with Taipei Veterans General Hospital in Taipei, Taiwan, said in a news release. "Our study suggests that depression may also be an independent risk factor for Parkinson's disease."

Researchers examined the medical records of 4,634 people with depression and 18,544 free of depression over 10 years. Researcher also analyzed the risk of Parkinson's disease after excluding people who were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease within two or five years following their depression diagnosis.

Researchers said that 66 people with depression and 97 without depression were diagnosed with Parkinson's disease during the 10-year follow-up period. The findings revealed that people with depression were 3.24 times more likely to develop Parkinson's disease than those without depression.

"Many questions remain, including whether depression is an early symptom of Parkinson's disease rather than an independent risk factor for the disease," Yang said. "Our study also found that depression and older age and having difficult-to-treat depression were significant risk factors as well."

The findings are published in the journal Neurology

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