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AD/PD 2023 | Mechanistic links between depressive symptoms and cognitive deficits

Panos Alexopoulos, MD, PhD, MA, University of Patras, Patras, Greece & Global Brain Health Institute, Dublin, Ireland, describes how depressive symptoms don’t just co-exist with cognitive impairment, but also may relate to the core pathomechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). One of greatest genetic risk factors for AD is the APOEε4 allele. Studies have shown that cognitively unimpaired individuals with APOEε4 have a higher risk of developing depressive symptoms than those without. It has also been shown that those with the APOEε2 allele (a protective factor against the development of AD), have a lower risk of developing depression. Moreover, another study found that cognitively healthy individuals with depression have a higher amyloid load in the brain compared to age, education, and sex-matched individuals without depression. This may suggest that depression is related to the core aspects of AD pathophysiology. All this data motivated Dr Alexopoulos to try and shed light on the potential diagnostic capacity of depressive symptoms. This interview took place at the AD/PD™ 2023 congress in Gothenburg, Sweden.

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