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Eriksson, MD, Eriksson, JG, Korhonen, P, et al. Depressive symptoms and mortality-findings from Helsinki birth cohort study. Acta Psychiatr Scand. 2023; 147( 2): 175- 185. doi:10.1111/acps.13512

Depressive symptoms and mortality-findings from Helsinki birth cohort study

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Author: Eriksson, Mia D.1,2,3; Eriksson, Johan G.1,2,4,5; Korhonen, Päivi6;
Organizations: 1Department of General Practice and Primary Health Care, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
2Folkhälsan Research Center, Helsinki, Finland
3Doctoral Programme of Population Health, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
4Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology and Human Potential Translational Research programme, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore, Singapore
5Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences (SICS), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), Singapore, Singapore
6Turku University Hospital and University of Turku, Turku, Finland
7Department of Psychiatry, University of Helsinki and Helsinki University Hospital, Helsinki, Finland
8Department of Public Health Solutions, Public Health Promotion Unit, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare, Helsinki, Finland
9Clinicum, Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
10PEDEGO Research Unit, MRC Oulu, Oulu University Hospital and University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
11Department of Clinical and Molecular Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway
12Gerontology Research Center and Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, Jyväskylä, Finland
13Institute of Public Health and Clinical Nutrition, University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 1.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: John Wiley & Sons, 2023
Publish Date: 2023-02-16


Background: Individuals with depression and depressive symptoms have a higher mortality rate than non-depressed individuals. The increased comorbidity and mortality associated with depression has remained largely unexplained. The underlying pathophysiological differences between depressive subtypes, melancholic and non-melancholic, may provide some explanation to this phenomenon.

Methods: One thousand nine hundred and ninety five participants (mean age 61 years) from the Helsinki Birth Cohort Study were recruited for this prospective study and followed up for a mean of 14.1 years. Information regarding medical history, lifestyle, and biochemical parameters were obtained. Depressive symptoms were assessed using the Beck Depression Inventory. Standardized mortality ratios were calculated.

Results: Participants were followed up for a total of 28,044 person-years. The melancholic depressive group had an increased adjusted risk of mortality [HR 1.49 (95% CI: 1.02–2.20)] when compared to the non-depressive group. Comparing mortality to the whole population of Finland using standardized mortality ratios (SMR) both the non-melancholic [1.11 (95% CI: 0.85–1.44)] and melancholic depressive [1.26 (95% CI: 0.87–1.81)] groups had higher mortality than the non-depressive group [0.82 (95% CI: 0.73–0.93)].

Conclusions: Melancholic depressive symptoms are most strongly related to a higher mortality risk.

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Series: Acta psychiatrica Scandinavica
ISSN: 0001-690X
ISSN-E: 1600-0447
ISSN-L: 0001-690X
Volume: 147
Issue: 2
Pages: 175 - 185
DOI: 10.1111/acps.13512
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 3124 Neurology and psychiatry
Funding: Academy of Finland; EU; European Commission; Finnish Special Governmental Subsidy for Health Sciences; Finska Läkaresällskapet; Foundation for Cardiovascular Research; Foundation for Diabetes Research; Foundation for Pediatric Research; Horizon2020; Medicinska Understödsföreningen Liv och Hälsa; Novo Nordisk Foundation; Samfundet Folkhälsan; Signe ja Ane Gyllenbergin Säätiö
  © 2022 The Authors. Acta Psychiatrica Scandinavica published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.