Hospital for seniors with depression

Seniors with depression experience accelerated biological aging, which leads to poorer physical and mental health, according to research from the Yukon Center on Aging. This finding opens up opportunities for preventive strategies and targeted therapies to reduce disability and slow aging in this population.

Researchers have found that seniors who suffer from depression age faster than their peers.

Researchers at the University of Connecticut’s Center on Aging have found that older adults with depression age faster than their peers. This accelerated biological aging is associated with poorer physical and mental health, although the severity of stress itself appears to be unrelated. Accelerated aging is associated with worse cardiovascular health, increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, multiple medical problems, and decreased cognitive performance. The study’s findings open up possibilities for preventive strategies to reduce depression-related disability and biological aging in older adults. Researchers are looking for therapeutic approaches to shrink stem cells and personalized treatments based on aging-related proteins.

Seniors with depression are aging faster than their peers, researchers at the University of Connecticut Center on Aging report.

“These patients have evidence of accelerated biological aging and poor physical and mental health,” said Breno Deniz, UConn School of Medicine Geriatric Psychiatry and author of the study, which was recently published. Magazine Nature mental health.

Deniz and colleagues from several institutions looked at 426 people with late-life depression. They measured the amount of aging-related proteins in each person’s blood. As a cell ages, it begins to function less efficiently than a “young” cell. It often produces proteins that promote inflammation or other unhealthy conditions, and those proteins are measured in the blood. Diniz and other researchers compared the levels of these proteins to measures of participants’ physical health, medical problems, mental functioning and severity of depression.

Interestingly, the severity of a person’s depression does not appear to correlate with accelerated aging. However, they found that accelerated aging is associated with poor overall cardiovascular health. People with higher levels of aging-related proteins are more likely to have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other medical problems. Accelerated aging is associated with worse performance on brain health tests such as memory and other tests of cognitive skills.

“Those two findings open up opportunities for preventive strategies to reduce the physical damage associated with major depression in older adults and prevent accelerated biological aging,” said Denise of the UConn Center on Aging.

The researchers are currently looking into whether treatments to reduce the number of “sensitive” cells in a person’s body can improve late-life depression. They are looking at specific protein sources and patterns associated with aging to see if this could lead to personalized treatments in the future.

Reference: “Abnormalities in Major Depression, Physical Health and Molecular Senescence Indicators” by Johanna Seitz-Holland, Benoit H. Mulsant, Charles F. Reynolds III, Daniel M. Blumberger, Jordan F. Karp, Meryl A. Butters, Ana Paula Mendes-Silva, Erica L. Vieira, George Teng, Eric J. Lenze and Breno S. Deniz, 22 Mar. 2023, Nature Mental Health.
DOI: 10.1038/s44220-023-00033-z

Funding: NIH/National Institute of Mental Health

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