Depression Link to Stroke Risk Bolstered

Eleanor McDermid

A meta-analysis published in JAMA provides "strong evidence" that depression increases people's risk for having a stroke.

"Given the high prevalence and incidence of depression and stroke in the general population, the observed association between depression and stroke has clinical and public health importance," say Frank Hu (Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, Mass.) and coworkers.

"More studies are needed to explore the underlying mechanisms and elucidate the causal pathways that link depression and stroke."

The team's meta-analysis included 28 prospective cohort studies, involving a total of 317,540 participants, 8478 of whom had a stroke during follow-up periods ranging from 2 to 29 years.

All but two of these studies reported hazard ratios for stroke that were adjusted for confounders, most commonly age, smoking status, body mass index, alcohol intake, physical activity and comorbidities such as diabetes, hypertension and coronary heart disease.

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