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Scientists discover link between depression and arthritis

Category: General Health

Sometimes a medical problem can cause underlying issues that are totally independent of the current medications and illnesses a person is suffering from. In these cases, it may be that clinicians mistake these ailments as side effects of the initial disease, but that may not always be the case. Research has shown that, in some instances, there are legitimate biological scenarios causing secondary illnesses that wouldn't exist in individuals otherwise.

Making a better assessment
One such ailment is depression, as it's been found to be linked to arthritis and joint inflammation. Using a blood test to isolate a specific protein in the bloodstream, researchers in Denmark at the University of Copenhagen were able to isolate an enzyme called C-reactive protein (CPR) that, when present in high enough concentrations, can cause depression.

The Huffington Post noted that, in the past, those with inflammation or arthritis may have been written off as being upset due to the physical pain and limitations resulting from their existing conditions, but specific blood tests were able to determine correct diagnoses. The source stated that a team of researchers reviewed more than 70,000 test subjects ranging in age from 20 to 100, ruling out other factors like smoking, environment, diet and exercise. The only thing that all participants shared was ongoing joint inflammation.

An uncertain connection
Research showed that those with higher levels of CPR, a protein released by these kinds of symptoms, were two to three times more likely to develop depression. While the finding was not a definitive cause and effect situation, it showed a high correlation between the two conditions. This could give clinicians pause in the future when dealing with patients claiming to suffer from multiple illnesses at once.

The New York Times added that, while there is a clear relationship, it's not yet certain if it's inflammation that leads to depression or the other way around. What is absolute is that those with blood test results carrying more than 3 milligrams per liter of CPR in the sample likely have been hospitalized for depression, taken antidepressants or suffered from other symptoms of the condition. Dr. Borge G. Nodestgaard, one of the University of Copenhagen researchers, said that treating one disease or the other could result in relief from both ailments.

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