How depression leads to relapse in people with UC


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Investigating the relationship between depression and UC 


Understanding the factors that predict depression may enable doctors to identify people at risk of worse UC outcomes, and therefore target treatments more accurately based on the risks of depression

Prof Chris Dickens, University of Exeter

What is this research looking at?

Many people with Ulcerative Colitis (UC) also suffer from depression, which can often contribute to making their UC worse, or having more frequent relapses. The researchers want to understand the factors which determine whether a person with UC will develop depression, and if having depression plays a role in the course of their UC.

Recent research among people with non‐UC illnesses has shown that levels of inflammatory activity may influence who gets depression. The researchers therefore want to examine the role of inflammation in 250 patients with UC from the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital. They will be assessed on their emotional processing, such as how they perceive emotions in others, and how they respond to rewarding or threatening situations. These factors have been shown to determine the effects of inflammation on depression among healthy individuals. The researchers will also collect blood and stool samples to assess their level of inflammation.

The results from this study will show which patient characteristics are most likely to contribute to the development of depression. It will also reveal the extent to which depression predicts later UC disease activity, particularly relapse. 

What do researchers think this could this mean for people with IBD? 

The researchers hope that this study will reveal which factors can predict if a person with UC is at greater risk of developing depression. This will allow clinicians to personalise patient care to provide the support patients need, and target treatments more accurately. 

If depression is shown to be an important predictor of health outcomes among people with UC, this could help ensure that people with IBD are routinely monitored for depression. Understanding the mechanisms leading to worse UC outcomes could also help develop and target new treatments for UC. 

By clarifying the relationship between UC, depression and quality of life, this study will lead to improvements in management, and lead to better outcomes in patients with UC.

Who is leading the research: Prof Chris Dickens, University of Exeter
Our Funding: £119,721
Duration: 27 months
Official title of the application: Prospective cohort study to identify causes of depression and how depression leads to relapse in people with
Ulcerative Colitis.
Tags: Depression; Ulcerative Colitis