Disease trajectories and mortality among individuals diagnosed with depression

Han, X., Hou, C., Yang, H. et al. Disease trajectories and mortality among individuals diagnosed with depression: a community-based cohort study in UK Biobank. Mol Psychiatry (2021). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41380-021-01170-6


Patients with depression are at increased risk for a range of comorbid diseases, with, however, unclear explanations. In this large community-based cohort study of the UK Biobank, 24,130 patients diagnosed with depression were compared to 120,366 matched individuals without such a diagnosis. Follow-up was conducted from 6 months after the index date until death or the end of 2019, for the occurrence of 470 medical conditions and 16 specific causes of death. The median age at the time of the depression diagnosis was 62.0 years, and most of the patients were female (63.63%). During a median follow-up of 4.94 years, 129 medical conditions were found to be significantly associated with a prior diagnosis of depression, based on adjusted Cox regression models. Using disease trajectory network analysis to visualize the magnitude of disease–disease associations and the temporal order of the associated medical conditions, we identified three main affected disease clusters after depression (i.e., cardiometabolic diseases, chronic inflammatory diseases, and diseases related to tobacco abuse), which were further linked to a wider range of other conditions. In addition, we also identified three depression-mortality trajectories leading to death due to cardiovascular disease, respiratory system disease and malignant neoplasm. In conclusion, an inpatient diagnosis of depression in later life is associated with three distinct network-based clusters of medical conditions, indicating alterations in the cardiometabolic system, chronic status of inflammation, and tobacco abuse as key pathways to a wide range of other conditions downstream. If replicated, these pathways may constitute promising targets for the health promotion among depression patients.

Published June 16, 2021 6:05 PM - Last modified June 16, 2021 6:05 PM