Researchers at Bristol Medical School: Public Health Sciences (PHS) and the School of Psychological Sciences have denied rumors and found that allergic diseases do not cause mental health traits including anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia, or vice versa.
The results of the study are published in the journal Clinical and Experimental Allergy.
Allergic diseases such as asthma, atopic dermatitis, and hay fever do not cause mental health conditions or vice versa, according to a new study from the University of Bristol.
While previous studies have reported an observed relationship between mental health and common allergic diseases, until now no causal relationship has been identified.
First, a group of researchers sought to isolate the effects of these allergic diseases by applying a scientific method called Mendelian randomization, which allowed them to identify genetic variants associated with these allergic diseases, and then investigate how these variants were causally related to the presence of mental health conditions based on a sample of 12,000–344,901 people.
Although the researchers found observable associations between allergic diseases and mental health features, they were not replicated in the team’s causal analysis. Little evidence of a causal relationship between the onset of allergic illness and mental health was found, suggesting that the observed observational associations were due to bias or other forms of bias.
The authors conclude that intervention for the initial manifestation of allergic disease is unlikely to improve mental health outcomes. Likewise, preventing the manifestation of mental disorders is unlikely to reduce the risk of allergic diseases. However, further research is needed to determine whether intervention in the progression of an allergic disease after it occurs has any causal effect on mental health.
Dr. Ashley Boudou-Aggray, Senior Research Fellow, Bristol Medical School: PHS and lead author of the study stated: “Common mental disorders such as anxiety and depression are among the major contributors to the global burden of disease and its prevalence. the number of allergic diseases has been increasing for some time. Revealing the nature of the relationship between allergic diseases and mental health helps to answer an important question about health and suggests that the onset of an allergic disease does not cause manifestations of mental disorders, or vice versa.
“However, this does not rule out a potential causal effect on disease progression that remains to be investigated and may help uncover new treatment strategies for allergic diseases or mental disorders,” added Dr Budu-Aggrey. Senior Author Dr. Hannah Sallis, Senior Research Fellow at the Bristol School of Psychological Sciences, added: “The study used a combination of approaches and data from several studies. This helps build our confidence in the results. Establishing whether an allergic disease is causing mental health problems, or vice versa, is important to ensure that resources and treatment strategies are targeted appropriately. ”
The study was funded by grants from the Medical Research Council (MRC), European Research Council (ERC), National Institute for Medical Research, Bristol Biomedical Research Center (NIHR Bristol BRC), Norwegian Research Council, British Skin Foundation and the Academy of Medical Sciences. Springboard Award, which is supported by the Wellcome Trust, the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Global Research Foundation and the British Heart Foundation.
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