Study: Clogged arteries linked to reduced thinking, not depression

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Plaque build-up in the arteries affects thinking but does not contribute to depression in elderly, according to a new study.

Researchers studied nearly 600 people aged 85 years and older. As plaque build-up increased, thinking ability, attention levels and mental reaction speed decreased, according to lead researcher D. J. Vinkers of Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands and his colleagues. Findings of the study were published in Neurology.

Researchers also found that high levels of plaque build-up on initial evaluation predicted a more rapid decline in memory ability during follow-up. But the degree of plaque build-up was not associated with symptoms of depression.