Menopause linked to depression onset

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 1, 2006

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The hormonal changes associated with menopause increase a woman's risk of developing depressive symptoms or a diagnosable depressive disorder even if there is no history of this type of mental illness, according to two studies published in the April Archives of General Psychiatry.

One study, conducted by researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine in Philadelphia, analyzed data from a subgroup of participants in the Penn Ovarian Aging Study who had no history of depression.

The authors found that during menopause, women were four times more likely to experience symptoms of depression and 2½ times more likely to be diagnosed with this disorder than during the premenopausal period.

The other, this one by researchers from Harvard Medical School in Boston, examined data from the Harvard Study of Moods and Cycles. They concluded that women without a history of depression were twice as likely to develop the disorder after beginning the transition to menopause as they were before menopause, and this risk increased if they experienced vasomotor symptoms.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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