Parkinson`s disease is a highly debilitating neurological disorder that affects more than 1 million Americans. Most people which are diagnosed with this disease will start showing early signs around the age of 50.
The disease is defined as a loss of neural cells that produce Dopamine. Dopamine is neurotransmitter and without it, people experience symptoms such as tremor, rigid muscles and loss of balance.
The symptoms worsen over time and currently, the causes that trigger the disease are unknown. Also, there is no cure that might stop or reverse the symptoms cause by Parkinson`s disease.
Many factors are being reviewed as possible causes for this disease and one of them is depression.
Depressive disorders might be a trigger for Parkinson`s disease as a newly published study conducted by Peter Nordström and his team, of Umeå University in Umeå, Sweden, shows.
The study was conducted on 140,000 people and extended over a long period of time. All of the 140,000 participants in the study had been diagnosed with depression and their chances of developing Parkinson`s disease were compared to people who have not suffered from depression.
Most of the participants on the study had received their depression diagnosis in the time frame of 1987-2012 and most people from the study had turned 50 by 2005.
This means that researchers followed the participants for over 26 years to figure out which of the patients with depression had developed Parkinson`s later in life and which had not.
What they learn was that indeed, patients diagnosed with depression had a higher chance of developing the progressive mental disorder that is Parkinson`s disease.
The study showed that 1% of depressive patients will develop Parkinson`s disease later in life, as opposed to the 0.4% that is predicted for the general population.
People also have a 3.2 greater chance of developing Parkinson`s disease within the first year after being diagnosed with depression.
The study also showed that those that had severe depression and had to be hospitalized for this disease had chances three times higher of developing Parkinson`s than those who have no received drugs for their depression, only counseling.
What is even more interesting is that people who have been hospitalized with depression over five times had a 40% increased probability of getting Parkinson`s.
The results also prompted researchers to look more closely into the drugs being used to treat depression, as they might be to blame for the increased risk for Parkinson`s disease.
Another theory is that depression causes some neurological damage, which in time leads to the destruction of neural cells that produce Dopamine.
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