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Eur Psychiatry. 2019 May 31;60:63-70. doi: 10.1016/j.eurpsy.2019.05.007. [Epub ahead of print]

The associations between self-reported depression, self-reported chronic inflammatory conditions and cognitive abilities in UK Biobank.

Author information

1
Institute of Health & Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8RZ, UK. Electronic address: laura.lyall@glasgow.ac.uk.
2
Institute of Health & Wellbeing, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8RZ, UK.
3
Institute of Infection, Immunity & Inflammation, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, G12 8TA, UK.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

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.

METHODS:

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.

RESULTS:

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.

DISCUSSION:

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.

KEYWORDS:

Cognitive ability; Depression; Inflammation; Inflammatory disease; Memory; Reaction time

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