Chae WR, Fuentes-Casan M, Gutknecht F, Ljubez A, Gold SM, Wingenfeld K, Otte C.

Early-onset (EOD) and late-onset (LOD) late-life depression might differ in etiology, clinical features, and treatment response. While EOD is more frequently associated with a family history of affective disorders and personality aspects, LOD is thought to be more strongly driven by acquired cerebrovascular risk factors associated with vascular pathology, executive dysfunction, and poor treatment response. However, in a systematic review, EOD and LOD only differed in the frequency of affective disorders in the family history. We compared EOD versus LOD using medical records. In this retrospective chart review, elderly depressed patients (N = 108; mean age: 69.0 ± 7.2 years) were characterized by sociodemographic, psychiatric, and somatic variables and divided according to age-at-onset (cut-off: 60 years): EOD (N = 67, mean age-at-onset: 40.2 ± 13.6 years) and LOD (N = 41, 67.5 ± 6.3 years). A family history of affective disorders was more common in EOD than LOD patients (49.2% vs. 19.5%). EOD patients had a higher body mass index (mean: 27.0 kg/m2 vs. 23.1 kg/m2) and were more often obese compared with LOD patients (20% vs. 0%). There were fewer treatment responders in the EOD group than in the LOD group on trend level significance (46.3% vs. 63.4%). Higher frequency of affective disorders in the family history is compatible with a greater genetic risk of EOD. The larger metabolic burden of EOD might stem from the longer duration of depressive illness.

Compr Psychoneuroendocrinol. 2021 Oct 23;8:100096

Link to Pubmed