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Depression in Youth Linked to Risk for Somatic Diseases

TUESDAY, Dec. 15, 2020 -- Patients diagnosed with depression in youth have increased risks for many somatic diseases and mortality, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Marica Leone, from Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in Solna, Sweden, and colleagues quantified the association between youth depression and subsequent diagnoses of somatic diseases and mortality in a population-based cohort study. Data were obtained from Swedish national registers for 1,487,964 individuals born between 1982 and 1996, followed up from age 5 years through 2013. Sixty-nine somatic conditions diagnosed after youth depression were examined, in addition to all-cause and cause-specific mortalities.

The researchers found that 37,185 of the participants (2.5 percent) had an inpatient or outpatient contact for depression between ages 5 and 19 years. For 66 of the 69 somatic diagnoses, higher risks were seen for individuals with youth depression. For certain injuries, strong associations were observed, especially self-harm in female participants, sleep disorders, viral hepatitis, all-cause mortality, and cause-specific mortalities, including death by intentional self-harm (hazard ratios, 14.4, 8.1, 6.1, 5.9, and 14.6, respectively). After adjustment for psychiatric comorbidity, most associations were attenuated. The absolute risk difference of a specific disease within 12 years of first depression diagnosis varied from −0.2 percent for arthropathies among male participants to 23.9 percent for injuries among female participants.

"Discovery of disease mechanisms that may serve as intervention targets in early life should be prioritized in light of the substantial disease burden associated with youth depression diagnoses," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies, including Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson.

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Posted: December 2020

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