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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 42 (2000) 8, 595 - 604

Review article

The influence of white matter lesions on geriatric depressions

F.B. van der Wurff, A.T.F. Beekman, D.J. Veltman, W.J.G. Hoogendijk, Ph. Scheltens, H.C. Weinstein

background White matter lesions are recognisable as hyperintense lesions on Magnetic Resonance Imaging. These white matter lesions occur regularly in depressed elderly, especially in those with a late-onset depression. However, the relevance of white matter lesions for late-life depression remains obscure. They also occur in the non-depressive elderly.
aims This review article describes the relevance of white matter lesions of the brain for the aetiology, the symptomatology and the course of depression in the elderly.
methods Articles considering the relation between white matter lesions and late-life depressions were selected by means of a search in Medline.
results White matter lesions can influence the symptoms of late-life depressions. Especially subcortical white matter lesions seriously affect the outcome of late-life depressions.
conclusions The presence of white matter lesions has major consequences for the treatment of late-life depressions.

keywords early-onset depression, geriatric depression, late-onset depression, mri, review, white matter lesions