Depressive disorder can trigger other devastating neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, new research show.

Even though earlier studies had hinted about the possible role of depressive symptom in promoting certain other diseases like dementia, recent studies have almost established the link between depression and other diseases, the researchers claim.

People who were depressed had nearly a doubled increased risk of dementia, according to Jane S. Saczynski, MD from the Department of medicine and Meyers Primary Care Institute at University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester.

The researchers followed up participants in the Framingham Heart Study for a long period of 17 years. The participants were residents of Framingham Mass.

None of the elderly participants, who were with an average age of 79, show any signs of dementia when enrolled in the study. But they were diagnosed to having depression from the beginning. As the follow up period came to an end almost 164 people had developed dementia including 136 with a specific diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

People who suffered from depression had 70% more risk of developing dementia, the study found. They arrived at the conclusion that one in three people with depression at the start of the study developed dementia compared to one in five people without any depression.

Most people are not aware that depression has capacity to lead to memory or other cognitive impairments in older people. This leads to complication in diagnosis of both illnesses, the researchers averred.

The report is one among many that established link between depression and dementia appearing in Neurology.