Season of birth, clinical manifestations and Dexamethasone Suppression Test in unipolar major depressionReportar como inadecuado

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Annals of General Psychiatry

, 6:20

First Online: 03 August 2007Received: 09 March 2007Accepted: 03 August 2007


BackgroundReports in the literature suggest that the season of birth might constitute a risk factor for the development of a major psychiatric disorder, possibly because of the effect environmental factors have during the second trimester of gestation. The aim of the current paper was to study the possible relationship of the season of birth and current clinical symptoms in unipolar major depression.

MethodsThe study sample included 45 DSM-IV major depressive patients and 90 matched controls. The SCAN v. 2.0, Hamilton Depression Rating Scale HDRS and Hamilton Anxiety Scale HAS were used to assess symptomatology, and the 1 mg Dexamethasone Suppression Test DST was used to subcategorize patients.

ResultsDepressed patients as a whole did not show differences in birth season from controls. However, those patients born during the spring manifested higher HDRS while those born during the summer manifested the lowest HAS scores. DST non-suppressors were almost exclusively 90% likely to be born during autumn and winter. No effect from the season of birth was found concerning the current severity of suicidal ideation or attempts.

DiscussionThe current study is the first in this area of research using modern and rigid diagnostic methodology and a biological marker DST to categorize patients. Its disadvantages are the lack of data concerning DST in controls and a relatively small size of patient sample. The results confirm the effect of seasonality of birth on patients suffering from specific types of depression.

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1744-859X-6-20 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Autor: Konstantinos N Fountoulakis - Apostolos Iacovides - Michael Karamouzis - George S Kaprinis - Charalambos Ierodiakonou


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