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Depression 'causes greatest health reduction in chronic diseases'

By Liam Davenport
10 September 2007
Lancet 2007; 370: 851-858

MedWire News: Depression is more damaging to health than other chronic diseases such as angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes, reports an international team of researchers.

They also report that comorbid depression is more damaging to health than depression alone, and say their findings show that improving the treatment of depression should be a public health priority.

Little previous research has sought to determine how overall health status is impacted by depression, either alone or as a comorbity, say the researchers.

The International Classification of Diseases-10 criteria were used to estimate the prevalence of depression. Algorithms developed from the Diagnostic Item Probability Study allowed researchers to calculate the prevalences of angina, arthritis, asthma, and diabetes. Factor analysis was used to construct average health scores, which were compared across different disease states and demographic variables.

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