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The Study of White Matter Hyperintensity (WMH) and Factors Related to Geriatric Late-Onset Depression
  1. Jinghua Wang,
  2. Wei Li,
  3. Ling Yue,
  4. Bo Hong,
  5. Na An,
  6. Guanjun Li and
  7. Shifu Xiao
  1. Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Center of the Shanghai Mental Health Center, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
  1. correspondence Guanjun LI(E-mail: liguanjun66{at}; Shifu XIAO (E-mail: xiaoshifu{at}; Mailing address: No 600, South Wanping RD, Shanghai, China. Postcode: 200030


Background Geriatric depression is one of the most common and harmful mental illnesses seen in the elderly. However, there are few studies focusing on the relationship between late-onset depression (LOD) and social and psychological factors, as well as brain structure.

Aims To explore factors related to late-onset depression (LOD) in elderly patients.

Methods 24 first onset LOD patients over 60 years old (meeting ICD-10 diagnostic criteria for depression) and 23 non-depressed elders were selected for inclusion into this study. Scale assessments, including Fazelasscale for white matter hyperintensity (WMH) high signal level and the MTA-scale for medial temporal lobe atrophy levels, were combined with general demography and sociology data to find factors related to LOD.

Results There was no significant difference in age (t=0.419, p=0.678), gender (X2=1.705, p=0.244), or years of education (t=1.478, p=0.146) between the two groups. However, statistical differences were shown on scores on the WMH, (X2=7.817, p=0.008), periventricular white matter hyperintensity (PWMH)(Fisher exact test: p=0.031), having or not having religious beliefs (Fisher exact test: p=0.265) and family harmony (yes or no) (Fisher exact test: p=0.253) between the LOD group and control group. The results of linear regression analysis showed that the total score for WMH, religious beliefs (with or without) and family harmony (yes or no) were associated with depressive symptomology.

Conclusion Scores on the WMH, religious beliefs and family harmony are all potentially related to LOD in elderly patients.

  • Geriatric depression
  • Late onset
  • MRI
  • White matter hyperintensity
  • Religious belief
  • Family harmony

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