New study shows mental illness could lead to memory loss

4 months 23 hours 25 minutes ago Friday, March 06 2020 Mar 6, 2020 Friday, March 06, 2020 11:00:59 AM CST March 06, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
Source: NBC
By: Hope Beitchman, KOMU 8 Producer

A new British study suggests adults who experience depression and anxiety during early adulthood could lead to memory problems later in life.

British researchers from the University of Sussex followed over 18,000 people from birth. Those who experienced multiple episodes of depression or anxiety starting in their 20s were more likely to experiences memory loss in their 50s. There was no impact on other areas of cognitive function, including verbal fluency and information processing speed.

Dr. Darya Gaysina, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Sussex, said one episode of depression had little effect on the memory function of adults.

"We found that the more episodes of depression people experience in their adulthood, the higher risk of cognitive impairment they have later in life. This finding highlights the importance of effective management of depression to prevent the development of recurrent mental health problems with long-term negative outcomes," Dr. Gaysina said.

Dr. Gaysina also said they are calling on the UK government to invest in the mental health of young adults as a preventative measure to protect the future brain health of our ageing population. 

"We'd therefore like to see the government investing more in the mental health provision for young adults, not only for the immediate benefit of the patients, but also to help protect their future brain health."

Experts say it is important for people to take steps to protect their mental health, including exercise and maintaining strong relationships with friends and family members.

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