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Thyroid function in seniors could predict depression

woman smilingIf you’re an older adult with thyroid activity that’s slightly above average, you could face a greater risk for depression, according to new research. The thyroid produces hormones that have a hand in many bodily functions and can impact mental health—in fact, as researchers discovered, very minor changes could lead to health problems seen with more major changes. The study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, looked at more than 1,500 Dutch people who were an average age of 70, and who had no depression. During the eight-year follow-up period, those with who had thyroid gland activity that was still in the normal range but more active than the average had a greater likelihood of developing depression than those with lower amounts of thyroid activity who were also in the normal range. This is the first study to link higher but still normal-range thyroid activity with depression. Given the nature of the study, however, researchers were only able to find an association between the two; cause and effect could not be proved.