I continue to be fascinated by emerging research on how mental health impacts your physical health. And vice versa.

For example, studies have shown that if you have cardiovascular disease that damages blood flow to the brain, your risk of dementia goes up.

And a new study from the University of California San Francisco shows a possible connection between your mental health, specifically, how happy you are in young adulthood and your risk of dementia later in life. The researchers say if you're depressed as a young adult, you might have lower cognition 10 years later and may be more likely to develop dementia when your elderly.

There are several ways to explain how depression might increase dementia risk. The researchers say that one way involves damage of the hippocampus, the memory part of the brain, by an increased production of a stress hormone.

"With up to 20% of the population suffering from depression during their lifetime, it’s important to recognize its role in cognitive aging, says Dr. Kristine Yaffe, a UCSF expert. “Future work will be needed to confirm these findings, but in the meantime, we should screen and treat depression for many reasons.”

WDAY logo
listen live
watch live
Newsletter signup for email alerts

The article is published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease.

Follow the Health Fusion podcast on Apple, Spotify, and Google Podcasts.

For comments or other podcast episode ideas, email Viv Williams at vwilliams@newsmd.com. Or on Twitter/Instagram/FB @vivwilliamstv.