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Scientists find link between heart disease and depression

Friday 29th March 2019
Inflammation could be the common mechanism that links heart disease and depression, scientists discover.
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A new study has shed more light on the link between heart disease and depression, with scientists from the University of Cambridge discovering three common biomarkers in the two conditions.

Triglycerides and the inflammation-related proteins IL-6 and CRP were discovered in people suffering from heart disease and depression.

The IL-6 and CRP proteins are produced by our bodies in response to physiological factors like infections, but also when we smoke, drink or are inactive.

Scientists have discovered that they are also triggered by psychological stress, with high levels of inflammation markers often found in people with treatment-resistant depression.

In particular, IL-6 and CRP in abundance is a characteristic of acute depressive episodes.

Golam Khandaker, a Wellcome Trust Intermediate Clinical Fellow at the University of Cambridge, led the research with his colleague Stephen Burgess.

They took the data of almost 370,000 people aged between 40 and 69 into consideration. Genetic and environmental factors were highlighted before the biomarkers were studied.

Dr Khandaker said: "It is possible that heart disease and depression share common underlying biological mechanisms, which manifest as two different conditions in two different organs — the cardiovascular system and the brain."

Despite believing that inflammation could be the shared mechanism for these two conditions, the researchers have said that more work must be carried out to prove a link.

Previous studies have shown that people with depression and heart disease are more likely to die than those with heart disease alone.

Written by Angela Newbury

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