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Neurology. 1996 Mar;46(3):628-32.

Depression and multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Medical Genetics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Canada.


The objective of the present study were (1) to ascertain the lifetime risk of a depression in a representative group of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, (2) to assess the morbidity risks for depression among first-degree relatives of these MS patients, and (3) to compare these familial risks for first-degree relatives of MS patients with those for first-degree relatives of a primary depression population, i.e., depression but no MS. We psychiatrically evaluated 221 MS patients (index cases) using a structured clinical interview for the DSM-III-R and calculated the rate and lifetime risk of depression for these index cases using the product limit estimate of survival function. We obtained psychiatric histories for all first-degree relatives of index cases, and we calculated morbidity risks for depression for these relatives using the maximum likelihood approach and compared the risks using the likelihood ratio tests. Index cases had a 50.3% lifetime risk of depression. Morbidity risks for depression among first-degree relatives of index cases were decidedly lower when compared with morbidity risks among first-degree relatives of the reference population. Although there appears to be a very high rate of depression among MS patients, the data for their first-degree relatives do not support a clear genetic basis for this depression, or at least the same genetic basis that probably operates within families when depression occurs in the absence of MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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