Depressive symptoms, symptom dimensions, and white matter lesion volume in older adults: A longitudinal study

Joshua W. Kirton, Susan M. Resnick, Christos Davatzikos, Michael A. Kraut, Vonetta M. Dotson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective White matter lesions (WMLs) are associated with depressive symptoms in older adults. However, it is not clear whether different symptom dimensions of depression have distinct associations with WMLs. The authors assessed the longitudinal relationships of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) total score and subscale scores with WML volume in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging. Methods Using a prospective observational design, the authors examined WML volume and depressive symptoms at 1-to 2-year intervals for up to 9 years in 116 dementia-free participants (mean age: 68.78 ± 7.68). At each visit, depressive symptoms were measured with the CES-D and WML volumes were quantified from structural magnetic resonance imaging scans. Results Higher CES-D full-scale scores were associated with greater WML volume and with a faster rate of volume increases over time in women, especially at older ages. Higher depressed mood and somatic symptoms subscale scores were associated with greater increases in WML volume over time at older ages. In men, depressed mood and somatic symptoms were associated with larger WML volume at baseline. Conclusion Findings confirm an association between WMLs and depressive symptoms and suggest that depressed mood and somatic symptoms may be stronger predictors of depression-related brain changes than lack of well-being. Age and sex may moderate the relationships between depressive symptoms and WMLs. Understanding particular symptom dimensions of depressive symptoms has implications for treatment and may lead to targeted interventions and more precise knowledge of mechanisms underlying depression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1469-1477
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry
Volume22
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Depression
  • MRI
  • WML
  • aging
  • symptom dimensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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