Friday February 28, 2020

Researchers Develop New Tool to Predict Depression Among Adolescents

New tool to predict risk of depression in adolescence

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Depression
Researchers have developed a predictive tool that can recognise adolescents who are at high or low risk of depression. Pixabay

Researchers have developed a predictive tool that can recognise adolescents who are at high or low risk of depression in young adulthood.

Published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, the study also evaluated the performance of the tool in samples of adolescents from New Zealand and the UK, demonstrating differences in its ability to predict depression across these countries and highlighting the need to consider local variations when developing predictive tools.

“In our study we tried to go beyond more traditional ways of identifying youths at high risk of depression and learn from other medical specialties that combine multiple variables to generate composite risk scores, such as the Framingham cardiovascular risk score,” said study lead author Christian Kieling from Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil.

Depression
Current methods for assessing the risk of depression are based on family history and subthreshold symptoms. Pixabay

“This is relatively new in the field of mental health,” Kieling added.

Predictive tools have already been developed for psychosis and many physical health conditions, but little has been done for depression, despite its prevalence.

Current methods for assessing the risk of depression are based on family history and subthreshold symptoms which do not reach the criteria for depression.

Based on existing research and clinical expertise the researchers identified 11 sociodemographic variables that could be combined into a single score to recognise those adolescents at risk of developing depression.

In addition to a strong association with mental illness the variables were chosen because they were also easy to collect and simple to evaluate.

Using data on these 11 variables from 2,192 Brazilian 15-year-old adolescents and mental health assessments of the same adolescents at 18 years old, the researchers developed the tool to assess the risk of development of a major depressive disorder.

The study compared the ability of this tool to predict depression in a sample of 1,144 British 12 year olds (no data was available at age of 15) from the E-Risk Study and 739 New Zealand 15 year olds from the Dunedin study.

Depression
Predictive tools have already been developed for psychosis and many physical health conditions, but little has been done for depression, despite its prevalence. Pixabay

The predictive ability of the score was not as strong in the UK and New Zealand samples.

According to researchers, this was to some extent expected as not all the information used from the Brazilian sample was available in the other datasets and different diagnostic measures were used to assess mental health at 18 years old.

‘The existence of these discrepancies does not discount the value of our tool but provides important insight into adapting the score according to where it will be used,” Kieling said.

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“Adaptation is necessary for most predictive tools; for instance, tools used to assess the risk of cardiovascular disease developed in the US require adjustments when used in other countries,” Kieling added. (IANS)

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Air Pollution Increases Risk of Developing Kidney Diseases

India may face kidney diseases due to air pollution

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Kidney disease pollution
People living in countries with higher levels of air pollution such as India and China may face higher risks of developing kidney diseases. Pixabay

Researchers have found that people living in countries with higher levels of air pollution such as India and China may face higher risks of developing kidney diseases.

The findings may be especially important for parts of the world with higher air pollution where fine particulate matter levels are five to 10 times higher than in the US, the study said.

It’s known that breathing in air pollution can have detrimental health effects beyond the lungs, but few studies have shown how it impacts the kidneys, which act as filters for the blood.

“As rates of chronic kidney disease rise worldwide, it is important to understand whether and how exposure to air pollution plays a role,” said study researcher Matthew F. Blum from the Johns Hopkins University in the US.

Kidney disease pollution
It’s known that breathing in air pollution can have detrimental health effects beyond the lungs, but few studies have shown how it impacts the kidneys, which act as filters for the blood. Pixabay

For the findings, published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, the research team examined information on 10,997 adults across four sites in the US who were followed from 1996-1998 through 2016.

The researchers estimated the monthly average levels of tiny particles of air pollution–called fine particulate matter–based on participants’ home addresses.

Fine particulate matter comes from a variety of sources including fossil fuel combustion, industrial processes, and natural sources, they said.

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The team found that exposure to higher amounts of fine particulate matter was associated with a higher degree of albuminuria — a marker of kidney dysfunction — at the start of the study as well as a higher risk of developing chronic kidney disease over time.

According to the researchers, future studies should examine whether efforts to improve air quality yield health benefits, including reducing rates of chronic kidney disease. (IANS)