Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Depression may trigger diabetes in older adults

24.04.2007
Chronic depression or depression that worsens over time may cause diabetes in older adults, according to new Northwestern University research.

This is the first national study to suggest that depression alone -- and not lifestyle factors like being overweight –can trigger Type 2 diabetes in adults 65 and older, a population with a high prevalence of diabetes and depression. The report will be published April 23 in Archives of Internal Medicine.

The study examined 4,681 men and women 65 and older from Forsyth County, N.C.; Sacramento County, Calif.; Washington County, Md.; and Pittsburgh, Pa., annually for 10 years.

"This means doctors need to take depressive symptoms in older adults very seriously because of the effect it has on the likelihood of developing diabetes," said Mercedes Carnethon, lead author of the study and assistant professor of preventive medicine at Northwestern’s Feinberg School of Medicine.

An estimated 2 million older adults suffer from clinical depression, the second highest incidence of any age group. People 65 and older also have the highest prevalence of Type 2 diabetes.

"Diabetes is a scourge," said Carnethon. "It causes heart disease, blindness, kidney disease, leg amputations and lowered cognitive function because it essentially degrades the small and large blood vessels."

The study differed from prior research in several ways. It is the first to examine the connection between increasing symptoms of depression over time and the incidence of diabetes.

Previous studies linking diabetes to depression have been based on a one-time measure of depressive symptoms. A single measure could be based on an episode or event that has caused a person to feel blue for a limited amount of time.

Carnethon's study measured depressive symptoms at a single point in time as well as depressive symptoms over time. This approach paints a more accurate depiction of depressive symptoms. By measuring depressive symptoms before diabetes developed, she and colleagues were better able to investigate the causal effect between mood and diabetes.

The Northwestern study also factored out other known lifestyle causes of diabetes such as being overweight or getting little physical exercise.

"We know that overweight and obesity are the primary risk factors for diabetes and most people with Type 2 diabetes are overweight or obese," Carnethon said. "But even after we adjusted for [statistically accounted for] body mass index (measure of height versus weight), we still saw a residual association between depression and diabetes."

In addition, the study considered a key biological factor – a high level of inflammation common in depressed people -- that might have explained the link between depression and diabetes. Inflammation is estimated by the levels of an inflammatory protein in the blood called C-reactive protein. But even after accounting for levels of the protein, depressive symptoms were still associated with the development of diabetes.

Carnethon theorizes that the culprit responsible for diabetes in persons who are depressed is a high level of a stress hormone, cortisol. High levels of cortisol may decrease insulin sensitivity and increase fat deposits around the waist (a risk factor for diabetes). While her study was limited to older adults, she believes high cortisol levels in depressed younger adults may also put them at risk for diabetes.

Insulin enables glucose (sugar) to enter the body’s cells to be used as fuel. When people are under acute stress or are depressed, the cells in the pancreas are suppressed and secrete less insulin to enable the body to sweep glucose out of the bloodstream. Compounding the problem, high cortisol levels decrease the muscles’ sensitivity to insulin, which also could result in elevated glucose levels, Carnethon said.

"When you’re depressed or under stress your body is trying to keep glucose in the bloodstream because it needs it for immediate energy," Carnethon noted. "So, it’s blocking insulin action. And you may even be producing more glucose because your body thinks it needs the sugar."

Carnethon said the study shows the importance of screening older adults for depressive symptoms. "It’s not a normal condition for older adults to be depressed," she said. "I think a lot of people say, ‘Oh, they’re old, they should be depressed. What does it matter if they’re a little bit down?’ Well, it does matter and you should treat it aggressively because it has effects on health beyond that of mood."

Marla Paul | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.northwestern.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Team discovers how bacteria exploit a chink in the body's armor
20.01.2017 | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

nachricht Rabies viruses reveal wiring in transparent brains
19.01.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

For the first time ever, a cloud of ultra-cold atoms has been successfully created in space on board of a sounding rocket. The MAIUS mission demonstrates that quantum optical sensors can be operated even in harsh environments like space – a prerequi-site for finding answers to the most challenging questions of fundamental physics and an important innovation driver for everyday applications.

According to Albert Einstein's Equivalence Principle, all bodies are accelerated at the same rate by the Earth's gravity, regardless of their properties. This...

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New technology for mass-production of complex molded composite components

23.01.2017 | Process Engineering

Quantum optical sensor for the first time tested in space – with a laser system from Berlin

23.01.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The interactome of infected neural cells reveals new therapeutic targets for Zika

23.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>