J Korean Geriatr Psychiatry.  2002 Jun;6(1):16-26.

Vascular Depression

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea. paulkim@smc.samsung.co.kr


This article reviews the recent literature of 'vascular depression' hypothesis. The 'vascular depression' hypothesis is supported by the evidence for associations between vascular disease and late-onset depression and between ischemic brain lesions and distinctive depressive symptoms. Patients with vascular depression is characterized by late-onset, absence of family history of mood disorders, evidence of vascular disease or vascular risk factors, cognitive impairment, psychomotor retardation, limited depressive ideation, poor insight, and disability. Vascular depression may be the entity suitable for studies of mechanism of depression. Depression in later life is often under-diagnosed and under-treated. Drugs used in the prevention and treatment of cerebrovascular disease may be shown to be beneficial influences for the prevention of vascular depression. Combined treatment with antidepressant and cognitive-behavioral rehabilitation will be more helpful. In the future, developments in structural and functional imaging, electrophysiology, chronobiology, and genetics will permit the knowledge of the association between mood disorders and brain lesions.


Vascular depression; Late-onset depression; Vascular disease; Ischemic brain lesion; Vascular risk factors
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