Prevalence and incidence of major depressive disorder in Alzheimer's disease: Findings from two databases

Myron F. Weiner, Rachelle S. Doody, Ramesh Sairam, Barbara Foster, Tso Yu Liao

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Background: Reports on the frequency of major depression in Alzheimer's disease are conflicting, some suggesting that it is frequent, others suggesting that it is uncommon. Methods: We examined the prevalence and incidence of symptom clusters meeting criteria for major depressive disorder (MDD) in two large series of cases diagnosed prospectively by NINCDS/ADRDA criteria as probable or possible Alzheimer's disease. Standard DSM-III-R criteria were employed at one site, the CERAD modification of DSM-III-R criteria at the other. Both sites required the presence of depressed mood on direct patient examination at the time of initial evaluation in order to meet criteria for MDD. Results: At the center using standard DSM-III-R criteria (n = 329), there was a 0.9% prevalence of symptom clusters meeting criteria for MDD. At the center using the CERAD modification (n = 586), MDD prevalence was 4.8%. Incidence rates at both centers were below 2% per year over 3 years. Conclusions: We concluded that DSM-III-R MDD is not common in AD patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)8-12
Number of pages5
JournalDementia and Geriatric Cognitive Disorders
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Major depressive disorder

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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