WASHINGTON (AP) — Memory and thinking skills naturally slow with age but now scientists are peeking inside living brains to tell if depression might worsen that decline — and finding some worrisome clues.
Depression has long been linked to certain cognitive problems, and depression late in life even may be a risk factor for the development of Alzheimer’s. Yet how depression might harm cognition isn’t clear.
One possibility: Brain cells communicate by firing messages across connections called synapses. Generally, good cognition is linked to more and stronger synapses. With cognitive impairment, those junctions gradually shrink and die off. But until recently, scientists could count synapses only in brain tissue collected after death.
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