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Although there is a link between allergic disease and mental health, this relationship does not appear to be causal, according to a study published in Clinical & Experimental Allergy.
“Previous studies had reported on a relationship between mental health and allergic diseases including asthma, hay fever and eczema, but little was known about the causal relationship,” author Ashley Budu-Aggrey, PhD, senior research associate with the medical research council integrative epidemiology unit at University of Bristol Medical School in Bristol, England, told Healio.
“Given the high prevalence of allergic disease and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, this was an important health question to answer,” Budu-Aggrey said. “A true causal relationship could potentially inform clinicians of strategies to reduce the risk for mental health problems or allergic disease.”
The researchers used data from the UK Biobank (UKB) study to investigate the phenotypic associations between allergic disease and mental health.
Using summary data from relevant genome-wide association studies (GWAS), the researchers then performed two-sample Mendelian randomization to explore the causal nature of these associations.
The UKB provided phenotype data for individuals aged 37 to 73 years with asthma, atopic dermatitis and hay fever, as well as with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia and neuroticism.
The researchers collected self-reported mental health and allergic disease phenotype data during verbal interviews conducted at the first assessment center.
Published GWAS have identified 89 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) related to the broad allergic disease phenotype, as well as 16 independent SNPs for asthma, 37 for hay fever and 23 for atopic dermatitis.
GWAS also have revealed 32 SNPs for major depressive disorder, 22 for bipolar disorder, five for anxiety, 79 for schizophrenia and 66 for neuroticism.
According to the researchers, there was strong observational evidence for an association between the broad allergic disease phenotype and self-reported depression (OR = 1.45; 95% CI, 1.41-1.5; P = 3.63 × 10-130) and major depressive disorder (OR = 1.4; 95% CI, 1.35-1.46; P = 2.63 × 10-76).
The researchers also report a strong association between depression and the individual asthma, atopic dermatitis and hay fever phenotypes, …….