Older adults with metabolic syndrome may be more resistant to depression treatments

January 10, 2018, American Geriatrics Society

Researchers suspect that having Metabolic Syndrome makes it harder for older adults to respond to therapies for depression. (Metabolic Syndrome is a mix of conditions like increased blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, excess body fat around the waist, and abnormal cholesterol levels). In a new, first of its kind study, published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, researchers examined whether Metabolic Syndrome in depressed older adults affects their response to antidepressant treatment.

Older adults who have major depressive disorder (MDD, also known as depression) are at higher risk for having problems thinking and making decisions. They are more likely to have trouble performing their regular daily activities and managing their personal care. These problems can lead to poorer health in general and a higher risk of death compared to older adults who are not depressed.

The study included adults aged 60 and older with Metabolic Syndrome and depression (confirmed by two separate assessments). Researchers treated participants with the antidepressant venlafaxine. After six weeks of treatment, the dose was increased if participants' depression scores were still high. Participants had follow-up visits every one to two weeks. Participants were evaluated for their response to treatment again after 12 weeks.

The researchers noted three key findings in people with Metabolic Syndrome:

  • Their life history of depression was more chronic.
  • Their depression symptoms at the beginning of the study were more severe.
  • They took longer to respond to antidepressant therapy.
  • What does this mean? The researchers said that with Metabolic Syndrome may be an important group of people for healthcare providers to pay close attention to when screening for and treating depression.

Explore further: Depression symptoms linked to problems with daily activities for older Japanese adults

More information: John S. Mulvahill et al, Effect of Metabolic Syndrome on Late-Life Depression: Associations with Disease Severity and Treatment Resistance, Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2017). DOI: 10.1111/jgs.15129

Related Stories

Depression symptoms linked to problems with daily activities for older Japanese adults

October 2, 2017
Recently, researchers investigated whether depressive symptoms might make it harder for older adults to perform their regular daily activities. The researchers also wanted to find out whether living circumstances or marital ...

Study provides insights on links between childhood abuse and later depression

January 10, 2018
Results from an International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry study suggest that smaller social networks and feelings of loneliness might be important risk factors for late-life depression in older adults with a history of ...

For older adults, serious depression symptoms increase risk for stroke and heart disease

February 1, 2016
Depression and its symptoms increase as people age, and have been linked to heart disease and stroke in both middle-aged and older adults. But whether depression and its symptoms are risk factors for these two dangerous conditions ...

Link between heart disease risk factors and depression is biological, not behavioral

May 11, 2017
Biology, rather than personal behavior, may be responsible for the link between depression and risk factors for heart disease, according to a new study from Rice University.

MetS prevalent among seniors at risk of mobility disability

February 12, 2015
(HealthDay)—For older adults at high risk of mobility disability, metabolic syndrome is highly prevalent, according to a study published online Jan. 30 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Are you at risk for metabolic syndrome?

June 15, 2017
(HealthDay)—Scientists have identified a group of specific factors that increase your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes, all of which are severe health threats.

Recommended for you

Study shows how bias can influence people estimating the ages of other people

October 17, 2018
A trio of researchers from the University of New South Wales and Western Sydney University has discovered some of the factors involved when people make errors in estimating the ages of other people. In their paper published ...

Infants are more likely to learn when with a peer

October 16, 2018
Infants are more likely to learn from on-screen instruction when paired with another infant as opposed to viewing the lesson alone, according to a new study.

Researchers use brain cells in a dish to study genetic origins of schizophrenia

October 16, 2018
A study in Biological Psychiatry has established a new analytical method for investigating the complex genetic origins of mental illnesses using brain cells that are grown in a dish from human embryonic stem cells. Researchers ...

Income and wealth affect the mental health of Australians, study shows

October 16, 2018
Australians who have higher incomes and greater wealth are more likely to experience better mental health throughout their lives, new research led by the Bankwest Curtin Economics Centre has found.

Linguistic red flags from Facebook posts can predict future depression diagnoses

October 15, 2018
In any given year, depression affects more than 6 percent of the adult population in the United States—some 16 million people—but fewer than half receive the treatment they need. What if an algorithm could scan social ...

Early changes to synapse gene regulation may cause Alzheimer's disease

October 15, 2018
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia, involving memory loss and a reduction in cognitive abilities. Patients with AD develop multiple abnormal protein structures in their brains that are thought to ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.