Depression provokes cancer

Mental diseases presumably affect the predisposition to certain types of cancer.

Scientists from the United Kingdom and Australia reported that mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety, can increase the likelihood of the disease with certain cancers, writes Eurekalert. The work is published in The British Meducal Journal.

The study was conducted by specialists from University College London, Edinburgh and Sydney Universities (University College London, University of Edinburgh, University of Sydney). They did not find a direct cause-and-effect relationship, but noted that the results of the work confirm the possible connection of mental and oncological diseases.

To test whether psychiatric disorders affect the predisposition to certain types of cancer, the researchers analyzed the 16 scientific papers published in 1994-2008 - 13 studies were conducted in the UK and three more in Scotland.

The total number of participants (men and women over 16 who did not suffer from cancer at the beginning of the study) was more than 163 thousand. Each of them filled out a questionnaire, which contained, inter alia, data about his /her psychological state. After filling in, respondents were observed on average for nine and a half years, during this time 4353 people died of cancer.

Then the researchers compared how much more likely the cancer death was among patients with a high level of psychological discomfort (depression, anxiety disorder) compared to those whose psyche was completely healthy. In addition, factors such as age, gender, education, socioeconomic status, body mass index, adherence to smoking and drinking were also taken into account.

It was found that in patients with the most serious mental disorders, mortality was higher in several directions: they more often died from cancer of the intestine, pancreas, prostate, esophagus, and leukemia.

The authors of the study noted that, perhaps, in fact, the cause and effect should be reversed - there is a possibility that the disease caused anxiety and psychological discomfort. The specialists conducted a repeated analysis, excluding patients who died of cancer in the first five years after completing the questionnaire, but the findings remained unchanged, so, most likely, mental disorders developed earlier than cancer.

Depression is a fairly common disease. For example, during pregnancy, every seventh woman suffers, and her condition is reflected in the future child - he can be born with less weight. Employees of the University of Ohio (The Ohio State University) found that the future mothers in the blood level of a particular protein changes - the neurotrophic factor of the brain. The reduced concentration of this protein, according to previously published scientific papers, is associated with depression at various stages.

Scientists took blood serum samples from 139 women of different races during and after pregnancy and showed a decrease in the level of the neurotrophic factor of the brain during all trimesters of pregnancy, and then the rise - after the birth. In black women, the protein level was significantly higher. Experts suggested in case of depression in pregnant women to use either medication, if possible, or moderate physical activity.