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Female preclinical presenilin-1 mutation carriers unaware of their genetic status have higher levels of depression than their non-mutation carrying kin
  1. J M Ringman,
  2. C Diaz-Olavarrieta,
  3. Y Rodriguez,
  4. M Chavez,
  5. F Paz,
  6. J Murrell,
  7. M Angel Macias,
  8. M Hill,
  9. C Kawas

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    Objectives: To study depressive symptoms in preclinical presenilin-1 (PS1) related Alzheimer’s disease.

    Methods: Participants were 33 Mexican women at risk for inheriting PS1 mutations who were not demented. They were interviewed, underwent cognitive testing, and completed the Beck depression inventory (BDI). PS1 mutation status was determined. Mean BDI scores were compared between PS1 mutation carriers and non-carriers. The percentage of subjects who reported seeing a psychiatric professional, and the percentage complaining of memory loss were compared between groups. Regression analysis was used to determine whether mutation status predicted BDI scores after adjusting for age, education, mini-mental state examination, and subjective memory function.

    Results: PS1 mutation carriers (n = 17) scored significantly higher than non-carriers (n = 16) on the BDI (mean score, 14.4 v 6.5, p = 0.017); 24% of mutation carriers and 12.5% of non-carriers admitted having sought help from a psychiatric professional (NS). Mutation status remained a significant predictor of BDI scores after adjusting for potential covariates. Though not demented, mutation carriers tended to score lower than non-carriers on several neuropsychological tests.

    Conclusions: Depressive symptoms can occur early in the course of PS1 related Alzheimer’s disease, at least in women. This supports the hypothesis that depression may occur as a direct result of the neuropathology underlying Alzheimer’s disease.

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