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Bulimia and depression may predict risk for diabetes

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Researchers have long speculated that certain mental health conditions might be linked to diabetes - and now they have evidence of this connection.

A study from the University of Gronigen in the Netherlands found that depression, along with impulse disorders like binge eating disorder and bulimia, can indeed predict risk for developing the health problems associated with diabetes.

"There has been a lot of research that suggests that depression relates to diabetes," Dr. Peter de Jonge, professor at the Interdisciplinary Center for Psychopathology and Emotion Regulation at the University of Groningen, Netherlands, said. "But it remains possible that this association is really due to an 'underlying third factor' that is associated with both depression and diabetes."

Enough lead time can remedy the problem

Given that depression usually starts to develop around the age of 25, eating disorders around 18-22, and diabetes around 45, there seems to be sufficient "lead time" to help address the former two conditions before they have the chance to influence diabetes risk further, de Jonge told Medical Daily.

It's possible, however, that how the three conditions are expressed is a more complicated story, he noted. For example, a person could first develop an eating disorder and, as a result, develop depression, and then later be diagnosed with diabetes.

Further research

The team plans to conduct a new study in the Netherlands that will track people over the course of several years. The idea is to see if mental health conditions that show up early in life can predict the risk of diabetes and other illnesses.

“By far the strongest prospective associations were found with respect to eating disorders and diabetes," de Jonge said. "Targeting the eating disorder in this case will theoretically be a far more promising approach than focusing solely on depression.”

Source: Med Daily
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