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Comparing Variability, Severity, and Persistence of Depressive Symptoms as Predictors of Future Stroke Risk

OBJECTIVE: Numerous studies show that depressive symptoms measured at a single assessment predict greater future stroke risk. Longer-term symptom patterns, such as variability across repeated measures or worst symptom level, might better reflect adverse aspects of depression than a single measurement. This prospective study compared five approaches to operationalizing depressive symptoms at annual assessments as predictors of stroke incidence.DESIGN: Cohort followed for incident stroke over an average of 6.4 years.SETTING: The Adult Changes in Thought cohort follows initially cognitively intact, community- dwelling older adults from a population base defined by membership in Group Health, a Seattle-based nonprofit healthcare organization.PARTICIPANTS: 3,524 individuals aged 65 years and older.MEASUREMENTS: We identified 665 incident strokes using ICD codes. We considered both baseline Center for Epidemiologic Studies-Depression scale (CES-D) score and, using a moving window of three most recent annual CES-D measurements, we compared most recent, maximum, average, and intra-individual variability of CES-D scores as predictors of subsequent stroke using Cox proportional hazards models.RESULTS: Greater maximum (hazard ratio [HR]: 1.18; 95% CI: 1.07-1.30), average (HR: 1.20; 95% CI: 1.05-1.36) and intra-individual variability (HR: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.06-1.24) in CES-D were each associated with elevated stroke risk, independent of sociodemographics, cardiovascular risks, cognition, and daily functioning. Neither baseline nor most recent CES-D was associated with stroke. In a combined model, intra-individual variability in CES-D predicted stroke, but average CES-D did not.CONCLUSIONS: Capturing the dynamic nature of depression is relevant in assessing stroke risk. Fluctuating depressive symptoms may reflect a prodrome of reduced cerebrovascular integrity.

Authors: Zahodne, Laura B LB; Gilsanz, Paola P; Glymour, M Maria MM; Gibbons, Laura E LE; Brewster, Paul P; Hamilton, Jamie J; Mez, Jesse J; Marden, Jessica R JR; Nho, Kwangsik K; Larson, Eric B EB; Crane, Paul K PK; Gross, Alden L AL

The American journal of geriatric psychiatry : official journal of the American Association for Geriatric Psychiatry. 2017 Feb ;25(2):120-128. Epub 2016-10-24.

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