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CVD, Late-Life Depression, Dementia Link Examined

Am J Geriatr Psychiatry; ePub 2017 Nov 20; Armstrong, et al

Late-life depressive symptoms may partially mediate the association of subclinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) with mild cognitive impairment (MCI)/dementia onset, a recent study found. Among participants from the Cardiovascular Health Study Cognition Study who did not have baseline CVD-related events (n=2,450), causal mediation methodology was implemented to examine whether late-life depressive symptoms, defined as 10-item Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression Scale scores ≥8 from 2-3 years after baseline, partially mediated the association of baseline subclinical CVD (CAC, carotid intimal medial thickness, stenosis, and ankle brachial index) with MCI/dementia onset occurring between 5-10 years from baseline. Researchers found:

  • Participants contributed 20,994 person-years of follow-up with a median follow-up time of 9.4 years.
  • Subclinical CVD was associated with 12% faster time to MCI/dementia.
  • The total effect of subclinical CVD on MCI/dementia onset was decomposed into a direct effect and indirect effect.
  • 64.5% of the total effect was mediated by late-life depressive symptoms.


Armstrong NM, Carlson MC, Schrack J, et al. Late-life depressive symptoms as partial mediators in the associations between subclinical cardiovascular disease with onset of mild cognitive impairment and dementia. [Published online ahead of print November 20, 2017]. Am J Gertiatr Psychiatry. doi:10.1016/j.jagp.2017.11.004.

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