The Impact of Depression on the Development of Mild Cognitive Impairment over 3 Years of Follow-Up: A Population-Based Study

Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord. 2017;43(3-4):155-169. doi: 10.1159/000455227. Epub 2017 Feb 9.


Background/aims: In the absence of effective treatments for dementia, major efforts are being directed towards identifying the risk factors of the prodromal phase of the disease. We report the incidence rates of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) in a Spanish population sample and assess the effect of depression at baseline on incident MCI (or MCI subtypes) at a 3-year follow-up.

Methods: A total of 1,642 participants (age ≥50 years) were examined as part of a Spanish nationally representative longitudinal study. MCI was defined as the presence of cognitive concerns, objective evidence of impairment in one or more cognitive domains, preservation of independence in functional abilities, and no dementia. Depression was assessed through an adaptation of the Composite International Diagnostic Interview (CIDI 3.0). Binary and multinomial logistic regression analyses were carried out to assess the associations.

Results: The overall MCI incidence rate was 33.19 (95% CI = 26.02, 43.04) per 1,000 person-years. Depression at baseline predicted the onset of MCI at follow-up after controlling for sociodemographics, cognitive functioning, and other physical health conditions (OR = 2.79; 95% CI = 1.70, 4.59). The effect of baseline depression on incident MCI subtypes was as follows: amnestic MCI, OR = 3.81 (95% CI = 1.96, 7.43); nonamnestic MCI, OR = 2.03 (95% CI = 0.98, 4.21).

Conclusion: Depression significantly increases the risk for MCI. Targeting depression among those at risk for dementia may help delay or even prevent the onset of dementia.

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Aged
  • Cognition
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction* / psychology
  • Depression* / epidemiology
  • Depression* / psychology
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Spain / epidemiology