Researchers at University of Washington in Seattle, led by Dr. Wayne Katon, say their findings suggest clinicians could help patients with diabetes protect against the development of dementia by adding screening and treatment for depression to other preventive measures such as exercise, weight control and blood sugar management.
"Diabetes alone has shown to be a risk factor for dementia, as has major depression by itself," Katon said in a statement. "Our analysis suggests that major depression more than doubles the risk of dementia in adults with diabetes."
Katon and colleagues tracked volunteer participants who did not have dementia from the Pathways Epidemiological Follow-Up Study's Group Health Cooperative's diabetes registry in western Washington state.
During the five-year study period, there were 36 cases of dementia among the 455 study participants also diagnosed with depression -- a rate of 7.9 percent. Among the 3,382 patients with diabetes alone, 163 or 4.8 percent developed dementia.
Depression with diabetes, Katon said, was associated with an almost three-fold increase of dementia vs. diabetes alone.
The findings are published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.