Depression Shows Several Effects in Rheumatoid Arthritis

Depression in patients linked to C-reactive protein, in spouses linked to worse disease course

FRIDAY, Aug. 14 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, depression severity was associated with inflammation, and depression in the spouse predicted a worse disease course in patients, according to two studies published in the Aug. 15 Arthritis Care & Research.

In the first study, Masayo Kojima, M.D., of the Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences in Japan, and colleagues analyzed data from 218 individuals with rheumatoid arthritis. Subjects reported on their depression symptoms and perceived pain, and their C-reactive protein (CRP) levels were measured. The researchers found that depressive symptoms and CRP level were positively associated, and both depression score and CRP level were associated with pain.

In the other study, Mark Lam, of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data from 133 married subjects with rheumatoid arthritis who reported on their disease activity at two times, with a year in-between. Both subjects and their spouses were also assessed for depression at each time. Increased depression in spouses at the first assessment predicted a worse disease course in the partner with arthritis, even after controlling for initial depression and disability in the subject with arthritis.

"Interventions that target only persons with rheumatoid arthritis (PWRA) depression and strategies for coping with the disease may not be sufficient in the presence of a depressed spouse. Whether depressed spouses are unable or unwilling to provide much needed support to the PWRA, or whether their depressed mood affects PWRA outcomes in some other way, is yet to be determined," conclude the authors of the second study.

A researcher on the spouse study was supported in part by a Pfizer fellowship.

Abstract - Kojima
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Abstract - Lam
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Eric Metcalf

Eric Metcalf

Published on August 14, 2009

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