DURHAM, N.C. -- Depression may inhibit the anti-inflammatory effects typically associated with physical activity and light-to-moderate alcohol consumption, according to researchers at Duke Medicine.
The finding based on measurements of the cardio-metabolic risk marker C-reactive protein (CRP) points to another potential danger of depression, which afflicts an estimated one in 10 adults in the United States. Study results were published online March 26, 2013, in the journal Brain, Behavior, and Immunity.
"Our findings suggest depression not only directly affects an individual's mental and physical health; it might also diminish the health benefits of physical activities and moderate alcohol consumption," said lead author Edward C. Suarez, PhD, associate professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke Medicine. "This appears to be specific to inflammation, which we know increases the risk for heart disease, so our findings suggest that depression could be a complicating risk factor."
CRP is a biomarker that predicts future risk of heart disease and other chronic inflammatory conditions. It may also play a role in the formation of plaque that builds up in arteries.
Physical activity and moderate alcohol consumption, defined as one drink a day for women and two a day for men, have each been shown to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. These behaviors also reduce inflammation, which is demonstrated through lower levels of CRP.
In contrast, depression is associated with elevated CRP and increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
In the current study, researchers gathered information from 222 nonsmoking, healthy adults with no history or diagnosis of psychiatric conditions. They recorded the amount of alcohol the participants consumed, defining light-to-moderate drinking as about half a drink per day for women and one daily drink for men. Participants reported h
|Contact: Rachel Harrison|
Duke University Medical Center