Sarah Goodwin
Kathi Ovnic
Holly Korschun
October 6, 1998

THYROID & DEPRESSION: An Unclear yet Definite Relation is Evaluated by Emory Researchers

Thyroid function should be checked ­ either by a psychiatrist or primary care physician -- in persons with major depression, says Emory psychiatrist Philip Ninan, M.D., who is studying the relation between the thyroid gland and depression.

Both underactive (hypothyroidism) and overactive (hyperthyroidism) thyroid are related to a variety of mood and anxiety syndromes, and thyroid dysfunction can reduce the effectiveness of antidepressants.

Patients with major depression exhibit a higher than expected rate of subtle abnormalities on a number of measures of thyroid function, including increased prevalence of autoimmune thyroiditis as assessed by the presence of antithyroid antibodies.

"It is unclear whether these are directly responsible for the pathogenesis of the syndrome of major depression, have a role in the development of specific symptoms, or are simply an expression of the central abnormalities that underlie major depression," says Dr. Ninan, who is studying patients with depression to evaluate whether thyroid hormone supplementation increases benefit from antidepressants.

Interested persons may call 404/727-8968 for study information or visit the following website:


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