Depression and Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers predict driving decline

Symptomatic Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and depression have both been shown to increase crash risk. We looked at 131 older adults with normal memory and thinking. Each participant had an assessment of their memory and thinking, along with a driving test and completion of various questionnaires. Additionally, cerebrospinal fluid was collected (CSF) and/or PET amyloid brain imaging was obtained as a biomarker (physical sign) of preclinical AD.

We wanted to see whether a depression diagnosis, antidepressant use, and preclinical AD are associated with driving decline. We found that a depression diagnosis was associated with faster time to receive a marginal or fail rating on the driving test. A depression diagnosis and preclinical AD biomarkers were also associated with driving performance, as were depression diagnosis and antidepressant use. Having depressive symptoms, without a depression diagnosis, was not a significant predictor of driving performance, however. While, as previously shown, preclinical AD alone predicts a faster time to receiving a marginal/fail rating, these results suggest that also having a diagnosis of depression accelerates the onset of driving problems in cognitively normal older adults.

While, as previously shown, preclinical AD alone predicts a faster time to receiving a marginal/fail rating, these results suggest that also having a diagnosis of depression accelerates the onset of driving problems in cognitively normal older adults.

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