Conference Coverage

Depressive symptoms are associated with stroke risk



Older adults who report more depressive symptoms may be at greater risk of ischemic stroke, according to preliminary data from a prospective cohort study presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology.

Prior research has found that depression may increase the likelihood of hypertension, cardiac morbidity and mortality, and stroke mortality. How depression affects the risk of incident stroke, however, “is underexplored, especially among Latinos and African Americans,” said study author Marialaura Simonetto, MD, of the University of Miami and associates.

To assess the relationship between depressive symptoms and risk of incident ischemic stroke, the researchers analyzed data from more than 1,100 participants in the MRI substudy of the Northern Manhattan Study. The cohort includes older adults who were clinically stroke free at baseline.

Researchers assessed depressive symptoms at baseline using the Center for Epidemiological Studies–Depression Scale (CES-D). Scores range from 0-60, and they considered CES-D scores of 16 or greater to be elevated.

The investigators used Cox proportional hazards models to estimate hazard ratios of incident ischemic stroke after adjusting for age, sex, race, ethnicity, years of education, smoking, physical activity, alcohol consumption, diabetes, and hypertension.

In all, 1,104 participants were included in the analysis. Participants had an average age of 70 years, 61% were women, and 69% were Hispanic. At baseline, 198 participants (18%) had elevated depressive symptoms.

During 14 years of follow-up, 101 participants had incident strokes, 87 of which were ischemic strokes. In adjusted models, participants with elevated depressive symptoms had a significantly greater risk of ischemic stroke (HR, 1.75; 95% confidence interval, 1.06-2.88). “Every 5-point increase in CES-D score conferred a 12% greater risk of ischemic stroke,” the researchers reported.

“Depression is common and often goes untreated,” Dr. Simonetto said in a news release. “If people with depression are at elevated risk of stroke, early detection and treatment will be even more important.”

The study was supported by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Dr. Simonetto reported no disclosures. Coauthors disclosed personal compensation and research support from pharmaceutical and medical device companies.

SOURCE: Simonetto M et al. AAN 2019, Abstract S1.003.

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