The public health implications of depression and cognitive impairment in late life are enormous. Cognitive impairment and late-life depression are associated with increased risk for subsequent dementia; however, investigations of these phenomena appear to be proceeding along separate tracks.
Objectives and Data Source
The National Institute of Mental Health organized the conference “Perspectives on Depression, Mild Cognitive Impairment, and Cognitive Decline” to consider how the varied perspectives might be better integrated to examine the associations among depression, mild cognitive impairment, and cognitive decline and to illuminate the common or distinct mechanisms involved in these associations.
The following 2 broad questions were addressed: (1) What gaps in our knowledge have the greatest public health significance? (2) Can we more efficiently use our research dollars and participant resources to fill these gaps? Meeting participants included grantees from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging and program staff from the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute on Aging, and the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
One of the most important recommendations to emerge from the meeting discussions is for increased collaboration among clinical and epidemiological investigators whose work focuses in the area of depression with those working primarily in the area of memory disorders. Directions for future research were identified.