Past Psychiatric Ills Don't Raise Alzheimer's Risk: Study

But more recent symptoms may be part of the disease

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MONDAY, April 10, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Having a mental health disorder doesn't mean a person will develop Alzheimer's disease later in like, a new study suggests.

Researchers examined long-term data from nearly 60,000 people in Finland with and without Alzheimer's disease.

The investigators found that those previously diagnosed with depression or other mental health disorders 10 or more years earlier didn't have a greater risk of Alzheimer's disease.

A history of mood disorders -- such as depression -- was associated with a higher risk of Alzheimer's when the disorders occurred at least five years before an Alzheimer's diagnosis. But, the association wasn't there when this time window was extended to 10 years.

Some of those mental health problems in the five- to 10-year window might have been early symptoms of Alzheimer's, according to study lead author Vesa Tapiainen, from the University of Eastern Finland's School of Pharmacy, and co-authors.

The findings highlight the importance of proper diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease within an appropriate time window, the researchers said.

The study was published in the journal European Psychiatry.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Aging has more about Alzheimer's disease.

SOURCE: University of Eastern Finland, news release, April 4, 2017

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