Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Depression linked to increased risk of stroke in women

Date:
August 12, 2011
Source:
American Heart Association
Summary:
Depression is associated with a moderately increased risk of stroke. Depressed women taking anti-depressant drugs -- particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- had an increased stroke risk, which researchers said may not be a cause but rather an indicator of depression severity. Researchers said patients should continue taking their anti-depressant medication.

Depressed women may face an increased risk of stroke, according to new research reported in Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association.

In six years of follow-up of women in the Nurses' Health Study, researchers found that a history of depression was associated with a 29 percent increased risk of total stroke -- even after considering other stroke risk factors. Women who used anti-depressant medication -- particularly selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors -- had a 39 percent increased risk of stroke. Examples of these drugs are Prozac, Zoloft, and Celexa.

Anti-depressant medication use may be an indicator of depression severity, said Kathryn Rexrode, M.D., the study's senior author and Associate Physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Mass. "I don't think the medications themselves are the primary cause of the risk. This study does not suggest that people should stop their medications to reduce the risk of stroke."

Researchers followed 80,574 women 54 to 79 years old in the Nurses' Health Study from 2000-06 without a prior history of stroke. They assessed depressive symptoms multiple times with a Mental Health Index. Anti-depressant use was reported every two years beginning in 1996, and physicians diagnosed depression beginning in 2000.

Depression was defined as currently reporting or having a history of depression.

The reported prevalence of depression at baseline in the women was 22 percent, and 1,033 stroke cases were documented during six years of follow-up.

Compared to women without a history of depression, depressed women were more likely to be single, smokers and less physically active. They were also slightly younger, had a higher body mass index and more coexisting conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes.

"Depression can prevent individuals from controlling other medical problems such as diabetes and hypertension, from taking medications regularly or pursuing other healthy lifestyle measures such as exercise," said Rexrode, who is also Assistant Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. "All these factors could contribute to increased risk."

Depression may be associated with an increased risk of stroke through a variety of mechanisms. It may be linked to inflammation, which increases the risk of stroke as well as other conditions or underlying vascular disease in the brain, said An Pan, Ph.D., lead author of the study and a research scientist at the Harvard School of Public Health. "Regardless of the mechanism, recognizing that depressed individuals may be at a higher risk of stroke may help the physician focus on not only treating the depression, but treating stroke risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes and elevated cholesterol as well as addressing lifestyle behaviors such as smoking and exercise."

Among limitations of the study, the participants were predominantly white registered nurses, it excluded women without detailed information on depression measures and the participants with onset of stroke at a young age.

"We cannot infer cause or fully exclude the possibility that the results could be explained by other unmeasured unknown factors," Pan said. "Although the underlying mechanisms remain unclear, recognizing that depressed women may be at a higher risk of stroke merits additional research into preventive strategies in this group."

Other co-authors are Olivia I. Okereke, M.D.; Qi Sun, M.D., Sc.D.; Giancarlo Logroscino, M.D., Ph.D.; JoAnn E. Manson, M.D.; Walter C.Willett, M.D.; Alberto Ascherio, M.D.; and Frank B. Hu, M.D., Ph.D. Author disclosures are on the manuscript.

The National Institutes of Health/National Heart, Blood, Lung Institute funded the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Heart Association. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. An Pan, Olivia I. Okereke, Qi Sun, Giancarlo Logroscino, JoAnn E. Manson, Walter C. Willett, Alberto Ascherio, Frank B. Hu, and Kathryn M. Rexrode. Depression and Incident Stroke in Women. Stroke, August 11 2011 DOI: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.111.617043

Cite This Page:

American Heart Association. "Depression linked to increased risk of stroke in women." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 August 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110811162820.htm>.
American Heart Association. (2011, August 12). Depression linked to increased risk of stroke in women. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110811162820.htm
American Heart Association. "Depression linked to increased risk of stroke in women." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110811162820.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

Beatings and Addiction: Pakistan Drug 'clinic' Tortures Patients

AFP (July 24, 2014) A so-called drugs rehab 'clinic' is closed down in Pakistan after police find scores of ‘patients’ chained up alleging serial abuse. Duration 03:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins