Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Depression in kids linked to cardiac risks in teens

Date:
March 15, 2013
Source:
Washington University in St. Louis
Summary:
Teens who were depressed as children are far more likely than their peers to be obese, smoke cigarettes and lead sedentary lives, even if they no longer suffer from depression. The research suggests that depression, even in children, can increase the risk of heart problems later in life.

Teens who were depressed as children were more likely to smoke cigarettes and to be obese, as well as to exercise less.
Credit: Washington University School of Medicine

Teens who were depressed as children are far more likely than their peers to be obese, smoke cigarettes and lead sedentary lives, even if they no longer suffer from depression.

The research, by scientists at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis and the University of Pittsburgh, suggests that depression, even in children, can increase the risk of heart problems later in life.

The researchers report their findings March 15 at the annual meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society in Miami, Fla.

"Part of the reason this is so worrisome is that a number of recent studies have shown that when adolescents have these cardiac risk factors, they're much more likely to develop heart disease as adults and even to have a shorter lifespan," says first author Robert M. Carney, PhD, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University. "Active smokers as adolescents are twice as likely to die by the age of 55 than nonsmokers, and we see similar risks with obesity, so finding this link between childhood depression and these risk factors suggests that we need to very closely monitor young people who have been depressed."

Researchers have known for years that adults with depression are likely to have heart attacks and other cardiac problems, but it hasn't been clear when risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, obesity and sedentary lifestyle join forces with depression to increase the risk for heart problems.

"We know that depression in adults is associated with heart disease and a higher risk of dying from a heart attack or having serious complications," Carney says. "What we didn't know is at what stage of life we would begin to see evidence of this association between depression and these cardiac risk factors."

The researchers studied children who had participated in a 2004 study of the genetics of depression. At the time, their average age was 9. The investigators surveyed 201 children with a history of clinical depression, along with 195 of their siblings who never had been depressed. They also gathered information from 161 unrelated age- and gender-matched children with no history of depression.

In 2011, when the study participants had reached the age of 16, the researchers surveyed them again, looking at rates of smoking, obesity and physical activity in all three groups of adolescents.

"Of the kids who were depressed at age 9, 22 percent were obese at age 16," Carney says. "Only 17 percent of their siblings were obese, and the obesity rate was 11 percent in the unrelated children who never had been depressed."

Carney and his colleagues found similar patterns when they looked at smoking and physical activity.

"A third of those who were depressed as children had become daily smokers, compared to 13 percent of their nondepressed siblings and only 2.5 percent of the control group," he says.

In terms of physical activity, the teens who had been depressed were the most sedentary. Their siblings were a bit more active, and members of the control group were the most active.

When the researchers took a closer look and used statistical methods to eliminate other factors that potentially could have influenced smoking or obesity rates in the depressed children, Carney's team found that the effects of depression grew even more pronounced.

"The siblings of depressed children were five times more likely to smoke than members of the study's control group, so depression wasn't the only risk factor for smoking," he explains. "But the depressed children in the study were another 2½ times more likely to smoke than their nondepressed siblings."

And the heart disease risk factors were more common in formerly depressed children whether or not they still were clinically depressed at the time of the second survey. In fact, Carney says, for most of the adolescents, depression was in remission by the time the second survey was conducted in 2011, with only 15 percent of them reporting depression.

The results suggest that any history of depression in childhood appears to influence the presence of cardiac risk factors during adolescence, according to Carney.

"Depression seems to come first," he says. "It's playing an important, if not a causal, role. There may be some related genetic influences that give rise to both depression and to heart disease, or at least to these types of cardiac risk behaviors, but more study will be required before we can draw any firm conclusions about that."

Carney RM, Rottenberg J, Freedland KE, Kovacs M. Childhood major depressive disorder and cardiovascular risk factors in adolescents. Presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Psychosomatic Society, March 15, 2013.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Washington University in St. Louis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Washington University in St. Louis. "Depression in kids linked to cardiac risks in teens." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315202640.htm>.
Washington University in St. Louis. (2013, March 15). Depression in kids linked to cardiac risks in teens. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315202640.htm
Washington University in St. Louis. "Depression in kids linked to cardiac risks in teens." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130315202640.htm (accessed August 21, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Do More Wedding Guests Make A Happier Marriage?

Newsy (Aug. 20, 2014) — A new study found couples who had at least 150 guests at their weddings were more likely to report being happy in their marriages. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

Charter Schools Alter Post-Katrina Landscape

AP (Aug. 20, 2014) — Nine years after Hurricane Katrina, charter schools are the new reality of public education in New Orleans. The state of Louisiana took over most of the city's public schools after the killer storm in 2005. (Aug. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

Researcher Testing on-Field Concussion Scanners

AP (Aug. 19, 2014) — Four Texas high school football programs are trying out an experimental system designed to diagnose concussions on the field. The technology is in response to growing concern over head trauma in America's most watched sport. (Aug. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Kids' Drawings At Age 4 Linked To Intelligence At Age 14

Newsy (Aug. 19, 2014) — A study by King's College London says there's a link between how well kids draw at age 4 and how intelligent they are later in life. Video provided by Newsy
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