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Accelerated Aging Linked to Late-in-Life Depression in New Study

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Late-in-life depression has been found to be associated with accelerated biological aging and poor physical and brain health, according to a recent study published in Nature Mental Health. This groundbreaking research was led by Breno Diniz, a geriatric psychiatrist at UConn School of Medicine, and his colleagues from various institutions.

The study analyzed 426 individuals with late-in-life depression and measured the levels of proteins associated with aging in their blood. The researchers compared the levels of these proteins with the participants’ physical health, medical problems, brain function, and the severity of their depression.

The study’s findings indicate that those with higher levels of aging-associated proteins were more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and multiple medical problems. These conditions, in turn, led to worse cardiovascular health and performance on cognitive tests.

However, the severity of depression was found to be unrelated to the level of accelerated aging. This surprising finding indicates that there are complex relationships between aging, depression, and physical health.

Diniz and his team note that these findings provide opportunities for preventative strategies to reduce the disability associated with late-in-life depression and prevent the acceleration of biological aging. The researchers are currently exploring whether reducing the number of aged “senescent” cells in a person’s body can improve late-in-life depression. They are also investigating the sources and patterns of proteins associated with aging to develop personalized treatments in the future.

This study’s implications are significant for the healthcare industry, as it sheds light on the complex interplay between aging and depression in older adults. By identifying the underlying biological mechanisms, researchers can develop more effective interventions to improve the quality of life for those with late-in-life depression. These findings also provide opportunities for preventative strategies to reduce the disability associated with late-in-life depression and prevent the acceleration of biological aging.

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