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Systemic inflammation has been linked with mood disorder and cognitive impairment. The extent of this relationship remains uncertain, with the effects of serum inflammatory biomarkers compared to genetic predisposition toward inflammation yet to be clearly established.
We investigated the magnitude of associations between C-reactive protein (CRP) measures, lifetime history of bipolar disorder or major depression, and cognitive function (reaction time and visuospatial memory) in 84,268 UK Biobank participants. CRP was measured in serum and a polygenic risk score for CRP was calculated, based on a published genome-wide association study. Multiple regression models adjusted for sociodemographic and clinical confounders.
Increased serum CRP was significantly associated with mood disorder history (Kruskal–Wallis H = 196.06, p < 0.001, η2 = 0.002) but increased polygenic risk for CRP was not (F = 0.668, p = 0.648, η2 < 0.001). Compared to the lowest quintile, the highest serum CRP quintile was significantly associated with both negative and positive differences in cognitive performance (fully adjusted models: reaction time B = −0.030, 95% CI = −0.052, −0.008; visuospatial memory B = 0.066, 95% CI = 0.042, 0.089). More severe mood disorder categories were significantly associated with worse cognitive performance and this was not moderated by serum or genetic CRP level.
In this large cohort study, we found that measured inflammation was associated with mood disorder history, but genetic predisposition to inflammation was not. The association between mood disorder and worse cognitive performance was very small and did not vary by CRP level. The inconsistent relationship between CRP measures and cognitive performance warrants further study.
Depression and chronic inflammatory medical conditions have been linked to impaired cognitive ability. However despite frequent comorbidity, their combined association with cognitive ability has rarely been examined.
This study examined associations between self-reported depression and chronic inflammatory diseases and their interaction with cognitive performance in 456,748 participants of the UK Biobank, adjusting for sociodemographic and lifestyle factors. Numbers with available data ranged from 94,899 to 453,208 depending on the cognitive test.
Self-reported depression was associated with poorer performance compared to controls in several cognitive tests (fully adjusted models, reaction time: B = 6.08, 95% CI = 5.09, 7.07; pairs matching: incidence rate ratio = 1.02, 95% CI = 1.02, 1.03; Trail Making Test B: B = 1.37, 95% CI = 0.88, 1.87; Digit Symbol Substitution Test (DSST): B = −0.35, 95% CI = −0.44, −0.27). Self-reported chronic inflammatory conditions were associated with slower reaction time (B = 3.79, 95% CI = 2.81, 4.78) and lower DSST scores (B = −0.21, 95% CI = −0.30, −0.13). No interaction effects were observed.
In this large, population-based study we provide evidence of lower cognitive performance in both depression and a comprehensive category of chronic inflammatory conditions. Results are consistent with additive effects of both types of disorder on cognitive ability. Clinicians should be aware of such effects, particularly as cognitive impairment is linked to poorer disease outcomes and quality of life.
Low birth weight has been inconsistently associated with risk of
developing affective disorders, including major depressive disorder
(MDD). To date, studies investigating possible associations between birth
weight and bipolar disorder (BD), or personality traits known to
predispose to affective disorders such as neuroticism, have not been
conducted in large cohorts.
To assess whether very low birth weight (<1500 g) and low birth weight
(1500–2490 g) were associated with higher neuroticism scores assessed in
middle age, and lifetime history of either MDD or BD. We controlled for
possible confounding factors.
Retrospective cohort study using baseline data on the 83 545 UK Biobank
participants with detailed mental health and birth weight data. Main
outcomes were prevalent MDD and BD, and neuroticism assessed using the
Eysenck Personality Inventory Neuroticism scale - Revised (EPIN-R)
Referent to normal birth weight, very low/low birth weight were
associated with higher neuroticism scores, increased MDD and BD. The
associations between birth weight category and MDD were partially
mediated by higher neuroticism.
These findings suggest that intrauterine programming may play a role in
lifetime vulnerability to affective disorders.
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