New York: People with symptoms of depression appear to be at increased risk of having a stroke or mini-stroke.
However, only subjects less than 65 years old, according to data from the Framingham Heart Study.
The risk was not seen among individuals older than 65.
Dr Margaret Kelly-Hayes and her associates at Boston University followed 4120 subjects in the Framingham Heart Study for up to eitght years.
At the start, scores on a standard depression scale, called the CES-D, averaged six.
However, nearly 11 percent scored 16 or greater, indicating the presence of depressive symptoms.
A total of 144 strokes and 84 mini-strokes or TIAs occurred during follow-up, the team reports in the medical journal Stroke
Among the subjects younger than 65 years, those with a CES-D score of 16 or higher were more than 4 times more likely to have a stroke or TIA than those with lower depression scores.
The risk remained elevated even after factoring in other risk factors for stoke such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and educational level.
In contrast, the stroke risk was unrelated to depressive symptoms among subjects older than 65 years of age.
Kelly-Hayes and her associates propose a number of possible ways that depression could affect stroke risk, including poor adherence to prescription drugs and recommendations regarding diet, physical activity, and other behaviors that affect health.