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Depression Increases Risk of Crohn's Disease

Update Date: Jan 17, 2013 12:23 PM EST

The risk of Crohn's disease is doubled by the presence of depressive symptoms, while ulcerative colitis remains immune to it, according to a recent study. Crohn's disease or syndrome, also known as regional enteritis, is a type of inflammatory bowel disease. The disease may occur in any region of the gastrointestinal tract, which is from mouth till the anus. 

On the other hand, ulcerative colitis is yet another type of inflammatory bowel disease that mainly affects the colon or the large intestine. The aim of the study, done by doctors at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, was to find out the possibility of a connection between depressive symptoms and the occurrence of Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.

The common symptoms of depression are feeling sad, pessimistic, lack of sleep or oversleeping, noticeable change in appetite and/or weight, lack of concentration etc. In some extreme cases people suffering from depression may attempt suicide as thought of dying is also common in depression.

For the research, database from the  study result of Nurses' Health Study I and II was taken, out of which the data of 152,461 women was isolated. Out of the 152,461 women there were 170 cases of Crohn's disease and 203 cases of ulcerative colitis. It was found that women who complained of depressive symptoms within four years had 2.39 times the chances of getting Crohn's disease, the researchers found no link between the depressive symptoms and ulcerative colitis.

"We observed that depressive symptoms are associated with a twofold increase in risk of Crohn's disease but not ulcerative colitis. Although both recent (within four years) and remote (baseline) assessments of depression appear to influence disease risk, the association with recent depressive symptoms appear more prominent," the author wrote.

"Our findings support the potential importance of a biopsychosocial model in the pathogenesis of Crohn's disease and suggest the need for further studies on the effect of depression and stress on immune function and regulation," the author added.

The details were published in the Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

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