Decreased retinal nerve thickness predicts risk for clinically progressive depression: JAMA Study
According to a new study, having a thinner retinal nerve fiber layer (RNFL) is related with a greater frequency of clinically significant depressed symptoms and more depressive symptoms over time. As a result, neurodegeneration may be linked to the early pathobiology of late-life depression.
This study was performed by Frank C. T. van der Heide and team, results of which are published in the Journal of American Medical Association on 16th November, 2021.
The objective of this study was to see if decreased RNFL thickness, a marker of neurodegeneration, is linked to the occurrence of clinically significant depressed symptoms and the progression of depressive symptoms over time.
The Maastricht Study is a population-based cohort study from the Netherlands with baseline examinations between 2010 and 2020 and a median (IQR) follow-up of 5.0 (3.0-6.0) years. The participants were drawn from the general population. By purpose, those with type 2 diabetes were oversampled. From September 2020 through January 2021, data was analyzed. Depressive symptoms were measured using the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)–9 (continuous score, 0-27) at baseline and annually afterwards in this study. A PHQ-9 score of 10 or above indicated the existence of clinically meaningful depression symptoms.
At the end of this study, after controlling for demographic, lifestyle, and cardiovascular risk factors, this population-based cohort study of 4934 participants discovered that lower retinal nerve fiber layer thickness, an index of neurodegeneration, was significantly associated with higher incidence of clinically relevant depressive symptoms and more depressive symptoms over time.
In conclusion, the current population-based cohort study discovered that decreased RNFL thickness was linked with a greater prevalence of clinically meaningful depressed symptoms and an increase in depressive symptoms with time. As a result, neurodegeneration may play a role in the early pathobiology of late-life depression, and monitoring retinal neurodegeneration may provide a technique of identifying individuals at risk for late-life depression.
Reference: van der Heide FCT, Steens ILM, Geraets AFJ, et al. Association of Retinal Nerve Fiber Layer Thickness, an Index of Neurodegeneration, With Depressive Symptoms Over Time. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(11):e2134753. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.34753