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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.
People with bipolar disorder typically require long-term pharmacological treatment to prevent episodes of depression or mania. However, evidence-based guidelines are often not followed by prescribers and, in some countries, prescribing of lithium is in decline. Polypharmacy is also common in bipolar disorder.
To employ a data linkage approach to describe and evaluate prescribing patterns in bipolar disorder in Scotland between 2009 and 2016.
By linking prescribing data to the electronic Scottish Morbidity Records, we identified a cohort of 23 135 patients with bipolar disorder who were prescribed psychotropic medication between 2009 and 2016. We examined trends in proportions of patients prescribed each of six drug categories. Random effects logistic models examined change in prescribing over years of interest.
The most common form of treatment was antidepressant monotherapy (24.96%), with only 5.90% of patients receiving lithium monotherapy. Prescribing of antipsychotics and anti-epileptics increased from 2009 to 2016 (antipsychotics: odds ratio 1.16, 95% CI 1.15–1.18; anti-epileptics: odds ratio 1.34, 95% CI 1.32–1.36), whereas prescribing of lithium decreased (odds ratio 0.83, 95% CI 0.82–0.85). Prescribing of valproate decreased from 2009–2016 in women, but increased in men (women: odds ratio 0.93, 95% CI 0.90–0.97; men: odds ratio 1.11, 95% CI 1.04–1.18).
Antidepressant monotherapy was the most common form of treatment for bipolar disorder in Scotland and prescribing of lithium has declined between 2009 and 2016. The findings are concerning and represent a gap between treatment guidelines and clinical practice.
Declaration of interest
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