Depression with Tau Protein : Did anyone see... - PSP Association

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Depression with Tau Protein

Karynleitner profile image

Did anyone see a segment on 60 minutes tonight in the US. It was discussing a study done regarding g Veterans and CTE. They seem to have found a reliable way to see clusters of Tau protein on the brain. The symptoms seemed very similar to PSP. They are working hard to help symptoms. This is Great News 👍🏽

They also mentioned that one of the hardest symptom to deal with is depression. I am struggling awfully with this myself. I hate to think Dan may be depressed and can’t tell us. I did have him evaluated 3 different times in the last 6 months. His inability to communicate efficiently caused all three Doctors to admit they were uncertain how he feels.

Do you feel PSP has caused depression in those suffering from PSP? Should I consider trying an antidepressant on him? I don’t want him to suffer.


38 Replies

HI, Karyn. I'm sorry that I can't speak helpfully about your question. My guy seemed to develop trouble articulating his feelings in some ways, but was generally very open and wise. Sad yes. Not depressed I think.

The difficulty in communication is so hard.

Love, ec

Thanks so much. Dan seems like he gets angry at me, but rarely speaks. I can take his anger, it just breaks my heArt to think he may be depressed.

Karyn, does he comprehend your speech? And is he able to move a thumb or finger on a board indicating a range of smiley face symbols in a spectrum from really unhappy to happy? (3 to 5 face-symbols)??

Anne G.

Sometimes I am frustrated and wonder what he understands, but the nurse who sees his each month feels he Does understand . He often will no longer answer with his hands, although I think he’s able . That’s why I wonder if he’s depressed. The doctors spoke with his regarding his feeling a few months ago. He did shake his head and answer, but they too were confused. I worry he want to be strong. His character was one to never complain and takebwhat life gives you.

I think your advice is right on. I am going to ask him if he’s sad, etc. I can explain that I am always here for him and want to help him.

I am also concerned if anti depressants would help, and side effects.

Thanks again for taking the time to help.

Well, I can only say that an SSRI helped my husband: he was getting pretty despondent, and I asked for one (and he agreed) and we found that it "lifted" his mood. He wasn't happy, of course, but it lifted him from the pits to a more level place where he even laughed at the tv sometimes and when I asked him (with our communication methods-) "how was today" he could respond "good". It was one of the best things we did, medically, and it actually helped :-) PS: There were no side effects.

Good luck, Karyn XXX

Anne G.

Thanks So much ,..❤️

Larry doesn’t seem depressed. He might tell me if I asked. I get down at times. Exercise helps me break it.

Karynleitner profile image
Karynleitner in reply to

Thanks Jeff. I am suddenly very down. With this and hearing that he may also be depressed, I thought I must try to help him if he needs it.

Exercise is a great suggestion . It’s very hard for me to get out, but on plan on sneaking away for a short walk when my kids are here.

Thanks again.


Dear Karyn, I do believe it would be impossible for John not to be depressed. I would definitely ask the doctors for anti-depressants or whatever is available to help him through this time. It is difficult to be a caregivers for someone you love and to know they are depressed and have given up hope. Anything that eases his sadness or fear would be a blessing for him. Anger and frustration would also be helped with thoughts and prayers are with you. Take good care of yourself and try to get some rest.


Dad, he's CBD not PSP so that may play into it, has never really seemed depressed. In fact I'd say he's been more like "oh well" attitude.


Wonderful. Thanks So much for your reply.


That was an interesting article. Thank you for posting it. G was on antidepressants and I do think he was depressed. Who wouldn't be having one of these conditions?

Marie x

Marie, did they seem to help.? Some of the doctors have told us that depression from this type of disease is sometimes hard to treat. Also, did he have any other side effects. .


He was on Sertraline which I notice someone else is on. It seems pretty popular here in the UK. He didn't get worse and at times he seemed more cheerful. No harm in trying them?

Marie x

Thanks Marie. I agree, no harm in trying if there is a chance he’ll be happier.

Thanks. 👍🏽

Everybody gets down at times, but if someone is unable to communicate it is important not to impress illnesses on them.To make an idiot of yourself in front of them and to show love are the best medication.

I try hard to do that, but if he’s suffering I want to help if I can. Thanks

Yes, I think it does cause depression or it brings out the depression if there were prior problems before. In our case my mother has been depressed since my father died 3 years ago and the PSP makes it worse. I live in the U.S. but, I did not see that program you are referring to.


G. (Malattia)

Thanks you. Depression is awful. I can certainly see being sad after a loved ones dies and then being diagnosed with such an awful disease. My heart goes out to you and your mom. ❤️

Ian was put on pregabalin which has helped to lift his spirits as well as help with pain. Maybe worth investigating.

Juliet x

Karynleitner profile image
Karynleitner in reply to JCRy

Thanks you. Your response is very helpful.

Has he had a neurologist-psychological evaluation? Steve has had two, 18 months apart. This was early on while we were searching for a diagnosis, but these tests should indicate depression. They are designed to see what part of the brain has impairment, and differentiate it from psychological problems i.e. Depression. (Although he showed cognitive impairment in certain parts of the brain, the tests also indicated depression.) Early on, steve was put in anti-depressant, after these tests, a second one was added. This greatly improved his overall mood.

Karynleitner profile image
Karynleitner in reply to Khartt

Yes, Dan did have a cognitive/neuro exam when we first noticed problems. They did find some mild cognitive impairment in many areas. (Although they felt it was definitely not an Alzheimer’s type of dementia). They found nothing to indicate depression at that time. He was already having a hard time exspressing himself and his emotions were a little flat or distant. That was about 2 to 3 yeArs.

He was recently re-evaluated by two separate teams and their findings were inconclusive. In the very beginning of this disease he was given an anti-depressant . His personality had changed and his doctor thought an antidepressant might help. He took it a month and sAid he felt no diffferent and threw it out.

He understands most things, but does not talk and rarely responds.

Thanks SO much.

Hi Karyn

That is an interesting post. Do you have any more information about the study? My husband(with cbd) is a UK veteran.

He has been on an antidepressant - Citalopram - for 3 years and in spite of the inevitable progress of the disease I think it has helped with low mood and frontal temporal symptoms. Mind you, the whole thing is unbelievably depressing for everyone involved, me included! We just have to keep going somehow. Xx

The report was on last Sunday’s “60 minutes “ In The US. I bet you can find the program on the internet. The interesting part was the ability to see the clusters of Tau protein.

Thanks for taking the time to reply.


I just noticed you asked about antidepressants before. Honestly I do not think you have anything to lose giving Dan some. (And I am not at the stage you are, but if I find myself depressed I would take them myself as we carers have to keep keeping on....You are going through a really hard time. When it gets better you can just stop.)

Ruth is on 50mg of Sertraline a day. She can still communicate well and she agrees that it helps her mood and does not seem to have any side-effects. (It takes a couple of weeks to work.)

Richard x

I agree. It’s worth a shot. I am very down and anxious. Also, suddenly obsessed with my own aging and mortality too. Seeing Dan decline, struggle and miss out in So much is awful.

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your help.

It most definitely causes depression. I saw my sister go through it

Karynleitner profile image
Karynleitner in reply to Tunupup


Did they provide any more information in the segment about how they could see tau proteins? Xray, MRI, or some other method? I'd be very interested in that aspect -- not so much for my mother in her late stage CBD, but for those who may have puzzling symptoms and that could be used as a diagnostic tool to rule in/out certain diseases.

Karynleitner profile image
Karynleitner in reply to Ettavb

It was the last episode of 60,Minutes which aired Sunday night in the US. It was a segment on CTE, which is caused by blows to the head and concussions. They said it is caused by the clustering of Tau proteins. They showed a new way to see the tAu proteins. They are hoping this will one day lead to them being able to reduce them.

I bet you can Watch it someway on the internet.



Unfortunately, depression is usually part of the PSP baggage. It can be managed well enough with meds. You could Dan in for an assessment, they have some very simple questionnaires that can be filled out with a simple yes/no or thumbs up/down. He can be evaluated on those responses.

Tim xx

Karynleitner profile image
Karynleitner in reply to daddyt

Two separate teams evaluated Dan. They did their best, but they were confused and unsure.

Thanks for your help.

Hi Karynleitner!

In our case (PSP-RS) we have been administering a Sertralina 50 mg tablet for 5 years with good results. Sertraline does not act on PSP disease but it is important to maintain the patient's good mood.

The dose is 1 tablet of Sertraline 50 mg in the morning with breakfast.

To get to sleep, we used gymnastics during the day and a Lorazepan 1 mg tablet at night 1 hour before dinner.



Thank you. That’s very helpful.

My dad was diagnosed with depression pre psp diagnosis but after he became to sick to live on his own. They diagnosed him after he made suicidal comments. I believe his comments were mostly out of frustration. The antidepressants help him sleep so I have never argued the diagnosis.

Thanks so much. I’m glad they are helping him, even if only to get some sleep. This disease is terrible.

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