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Allergies Might Trigger Depression
Date:5/27/2010

Study found mood of those with sensitivities worsened when exposed to allergens

THURSDAY, May 27 (HealthDay News) -- Allergy season may not mean just the inevitable coughing, sneezing and itching, it could also significantly darken your mood.

Researchers reported that finding at the American Psychiatric Association's annual meeting in New Orleans this week.

"Depression is a very common disorder and allergies are even more common," said study author Dr. Partam Manalai, in the department of psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine in Baltimore. "Allergies make one more prone to worsening mood, cognition and quality of life."

A large peak in pollen particles floating in the air occurs in the spring, with a smaller peak in the fall. This coincides with a worldwide spike in suicides every spring and a lower peak in the fall.

To explore this relationship, Manalai and his colleagues recruited 100 volunteers from Baltimore and Washington, D.C., who had major depression. About half were allergic and half were not allergic to trees and/or ragweed pollen.

Volunteers were evaluated during both high-pollen season and low-pollen season, and also had levels of their IgE antibodies (a measure of sensitivity to allergens) measured.

This is believed to be the first study to link actual IgE measurements with depression scores.

"Patients with mood disorders who were allergic to an aeroallergen experienced a worsening in mood when they were exposed to the allergen," Manalai said. "Patients who have both of these disorders might be more vulnerable to depression in peak pollen season," he suggested.

"Treating those conditions might prevent them from having a depressive episode during high-pollen season," Manalai added.

The findings might also help tease out how much of the depression associated with allergy is psychological and how much is biological. With t
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