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Depression can lead to heart disease
Date:11/28/2011

This release is available in French.

Montreal, November 28, 2011 Depression may have more far-reaching consequences than previously believed. Recent data suggests that individuals who suffer from a mood disorder could be twice as likely to have a heart attack compared to individuals who are not depressed.

This process has been poorly understood until now. A new study led by Concordia University has found that depressed individuals have a slower recovery time after exercise compared to those who are non-depressed.

These findings suggest that a dysfunctional biological stress system is at play among depressed individuals. Published in the journal Psychophysiology, the research warns of the importance of testing for cardiovascular disease among people suffering from major depression.

"There have been two competing theories as to why depression is linked to cardiovascular disease," says first author Jennifer Gordon, who is a PhD candidate at McGill University. "Depressed people may have poorer health behaviors, which may in turn lead to heart problems. The other possibility is physiological: a problem with the stress system known as the fight or flight response. Our study was the first to examine the role of a dysfunctional fight or flight response in depression in a large population."

Heart rate recovery is a powerful diagnostic tool

A total of 886 participants, who were on average 60 years old, took part in the study conducted by Concordia in association with the Montreal Heart Institute, McGill University, the Hpital Sacr-Coeur de Montral, the Universit du Qubec Montral and the University of Calgary.

Approximately 5 per cent of participants were diagnosed with a major depressive disorder. All individuals were asked to undergo a stress test after which their heart rate and blood pres
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Contact: Fiona Downey
fiona.downey@concordia.ca
514-848-2424 x2518
Concordia University
Source:Eurekalert

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