THE EFFECTS OF CARDIOVASCULAR RISK FACTORS AND MILD DEPRESSIVE SYMPTOMS ON GRAY MATTER VOLUME AMONG COGNITIVELY HEALTHY OLDER ADULTS
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThe present study of 64 older adults (60-80 years) investigated the impact of depressive symptoms and cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) on gray matter volumes. Participants’ depressive symptoms were measured using the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS) and their CVRF status was determined based on the presence of obesity and hypertension. Participants underwent neuroimaging and gray matter volumes were compared using voxel-based morphometry. Higher GDS scores (greater number of symptoms endorsed) were associated with lower gray matter volumes in the right superior temporal lobe, left inferior orbitofrontal cortex, right superior frontal cortex, left insula, and bilateral angular gyri. CVRFs were associated with larger gray matter volumes in mostly posterior regions, ranging from the middle frontal gyrus to the occipital lobe. Individuals with both CVRFs present had smaller volumes in the right lingual gyrus with higher GDS scores. In contrast, higher GDS scores were associated with larger gray matter volumes in the right parieto-occipital region among individuals who exhibited only one CVRF. Our results show the complex interactive roles of depressive symptoms and CVRFs on gray matter volumes and support the need for future research investigating the effects of mental and physical health on the brain.