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Antidepressants could stave off dementia

People with a diagnosis of dementia can also face depression. For this reason, they may end up taking antidepressant drugs. Now, a study has found that these drugs may be able to treat not just depression, but dementia itself.

A new study tests out the potential of antidepressants to tackle dementia mechanisms in the brain, reported.

According to data cited by the Alzheimer’s Association, one in 10 people aged 65 and over has Alzheimer’s disease, a form of dementia, characterized chiefly by memory loss, disorientation, and having trouble with normal daily activities.

Moreover, people with Alzheimer’s can often also develop mental health issues, especially depression.

For this reason, healthcare professionals may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — a class of antidepressants — to individuals with dementia.

Recently, researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, have found a surprising mechanism at play, namely that SSRIs appear to inhibit the growth of dementia-specific aggregates in the brain.

“These are promising findings for people with Alzheimer’s who are on SSRIs,” notes Professor Praveen Nekkar Rao, one of the current study’s authors.

“These finding may not only highlight benefits for people with depression and Alzheimer’s but can also provide insights to serve as a guide to future drug development to treat the disease,” he suggested.

The research team reports the study’s results in the journal ACS Chemical Neuroscience.