Depression in older adults could be linked to an over active thyroid. New research recently accepted by the Endocrine Society Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism shows the new link. Past research supports this new research.
The thyroid, while it does control the body’s metabolism, can also affect moods and brain activity. In the past, data collection indicates that those who have either an over active or under active thyroid were at greater risk of being depressed.
Now researchers have taken it a step further.
“We found that older individuals with thyroid activity at the high end of the normal range had a substantially increased risk of developing depression over the course of an eight-year period compared to individuals who had less thyroid activity within the normal range. This suggests that people with even minor changes in thyroid function may experience similar mental health effects as those with overt thyroid disorders, including hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism,” said Marco Medici one of the study’s authors.
The finding show first determined how active the thyroid was by measuring the thyroid-simulating hormone (TSH). If the TSH levels are low, the thyroid is acting normally. They also took samples of the thyroid hormones to confirm the activity levels.
The average age of the test subjects was 70 years old. The researchers measured the TSH levels and gauged depression symptoms through the use of a questionnaire. They included participants who showed no signs of depression during their initial visit. Over eight years, researchers assessed the participants for depression symptoms while monitoring their TSH levels.
At the end of the study, the researchers divided the data into three groups. The results were that individuals whose TSH levels resided at the low end of normal, thus with a high end of normal thyroid, were more likely to have depression symptoms occur during the eight year study.
Researchers believe that the study could reveal more about the chemical process that can affect whether or not a person is depressed. They also hope that the study will shed more light on how the thyroid works and subsequent conditions.
“These results provide insight into the powerful effects thyroid activity can have on emotions and mental health. This information could influence the process of diagnosing and treating depression, as well as treatments for individuals with thyroid conditions,” Medici explained.
The study did not show how the same conditions would affect younger adults, teens, and children.