Could Childhood Depression Lead to Heart Disease in the Teenage Years?

January 31, 2014 3:18 PM

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Could Childhood Depression Lead to Heart Disease in the Teenage Years?

Statistics show that approximately 1 in 10 children aged 5 to 16 will suffer from a diagnosable mental disorder around the age of three-many of which can be related to depression or symptoms of the disorder.

In recent study conducted by researchers from the University of South Florida, they found that children with depression are more likely to be obese, inactive and smoke. Consequently, these are all health effects that may contribute to a higher risk of heart disease later in life.

"Given that the parents in this sample were relatively young, we were quite surprised to find that the parents of the affected adolescents were reporting a history of heart attacks and other serious events," said lead study author of the university associate professor of psychology Jonathan Rottenberg, via a press release.

For the study, Rottenberg and colleagues followed up on Hungarian children who had participated in a 2004 study on the genetics of depression. Researchers then compared heart disease risk factors in adolescents across three categories.

More than 200 children were surveyed who showed a history of clinical depression, as well as 200 of their siblings who had never suffered from the health issue. Researchers also gathered information from over 150 untreated children of the same age and gender, but no background of depression.

However, Rottenberg notes that he still hopes to conduct additional research in order to determine why depression early in life may put some at a greater risk for cardiovascular issues.

More information regarding the study can be found via the journal Psychosomatic Medicine.


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