The study was conducted by a team of scientists from Sweden and revealed that people who have been diagnosed with depression were three times more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease in the first year of depression.
The researchers found that 15 to 25 years later, the patients woe suffered from depression were 50% more likely to develop Parkinson’s disease.
Peter Nordstrom, professor at the Umea University’s department of Community Medicine and Rehabilitation and one of the scientists involved in the study, explained that there is plenty of evidence suggesting there is a link between depression and Parkinson’s disease.
However, some experts said that the new study does not show a cause and effect relationship between Parkinson’s and depression.
Also, they added that those with a history of depression have a low risk of developing Parkinson’s.
The scientists published their findings in the journal Neurology on May 20.
According to recent statistics released by the United States National Institute of Mental Health, depression affects almost 7% of Americans that are over the age of 18 every year.
Some of the symptoms of the mood disorder known as depression include long periods of profound sadness, apathy, fatigue, lack of appetite, sleep problems and increased irritability.
In the United States there are approximately 1 million people diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Every year, more than 50,000 are diagnosed with this neurodegenerative illness, as per the National Parkinson Foundation.
Some of the symptoms of Parkinson’s include tremor, shaking, slowness in movement, stiffness and problems with the balance.
For the new study that linked depression with Parkinson’s disease, professor Nordstrom and his team analyzed data from more than 500,000 people from Sweden who were 50 or older.
Approximately 140,000 were found to have a history of depression, while 421,000 of them did not suffer from it.
The participants were followed for about 26 years, with an average follow up time of seven years.
The researchers found that 1.1% of the participants who were depressive developed Parkinson’s eventually, while only 0.4% of those without a history of depression developing the neurodegenerative disease.
However, Peter Schmidt, vice president at the National Parkinson Foundation, said that those who suffer or have suffered from depression should not worry they will develop Parkinson’s because the study suggests there is an overall very low risk.
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