A study of teens who have type 1 diabetes concludes that their rate of depression is linked to poor blood glucose control and that doctors should screen young type 1s to detect the condition.
The study by the Division of Endocrinology at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center in Ohio, tracked 509 type 1 teenagers, ages 13 to 17, who were screened for symptoms of depression at least once during the first year of the study.
Researchers used a screening instrument called the Children’s Depression Inventory to determine levels of depression:
• Around 8 percent of the teens scored 16 or higher on the inventory, indicating that they were depressed. (In one depressing finding, 7 percent of teens in the study said that they had entertained thoughts of suicide.)
• Twelve percent scored between 10 and 15, a range indicating that they were possibly depressed or at risk for being so.
• The remaining teens, about 80 percent of the study’s patients, scored low and were not considered at risk for depression.
Researchers then looked for a link between rates of depression and patients’ blood glucose monitoring habits, as well as their A1cs. They found a definite link between low rates of monitoring and higher A1cs, “confirming the link between more depression symptoms and poorer diabetes management and control,” they wrote.
The study recommended that type 1 teens be screened routinely for depression, and that screening for depression and its possible link to how patients manage their disease could be extended to the treatment of other chronic diseases.
The study was published October 14 in the journal Pediatrics (http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2013/10/09/peds.2013-0681.abstract).