Depression and Alzheimer's

9 years 11 months 1 week ago July 17, 2007 Jul 17, 2007 Tuesday, July 17 2007 Tuesday, July 17, 2007 4:29:13 PM CDT in News

Even one bout of untreated depression can raise the risk of getting Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia later in life according to psychiatrist John Allen.

"The onset of dementia can often be preceded by a period of depression, so we feel that it is very important for people who have depression to get in to see their doctors and get into treatment," he said.

A University of Pittsburgh study recently found one untreated major depressive episode during late middle age could double the risk of getting dementia as a senior.

"Whether the depression is actually causing the dementia or not, that's not truly understood yet," said Allen.

One theory is that when you're depressed, certain hormones are released into your brain that cause permanent physical changes.

"A lot of these studies have actually found that treated depression has a different effect upon brain pathology," said Alzheimer's researcher James Brewer.

Those changes and mental inactivity may eventually trigger dementia, according to a 2006 study in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry.

"We know that if a person is not active, that may be because they're depressed or maybe they're depressed because they're not active--it's hard to see what caused what," said Brewer.

Prevention may be the same either way.

"The one thing that we feel like you can really do to stave off Alzheimer's disease as much as you possibly can is to stay socially involved and stay interactive and mentally active," said Brewer.

The Benefits Of Lifting

You know exercise is good for the heart, but a recent study says lifting weights can help even more.

The American Heart Association says those with cardiovascular disease can benefit from resistance weight training. Experts say guided, moderate weight training has significant benefits for patients, like muscle strength and coordination when they also do aerobic exercise.

An Apple A Day

If a eating healthy can keep cancer away, is it better to eat more healthy food?

Breast cancer experts believe regular exercise and eating five servings of fruits and vegetables a day may help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Now, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, researchers shows "five a day" is as good as it gets.

Researchers studied more than 3,000 breast cancer survivors.

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