Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Childhood Trauma Raises Risk of Adult CHD and Depression

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

Childhood Trauma Raises Risk of Adult CHD and Depression

Article excerpt

VIENNA -- Childhood trauma was an independent predictor of coronary heart disease and major depression later in life in a study with 360 men.

"Childhood trauma can have important consequences, but it is a risk factor that physicians don't usually think about," Dr. Viola Vaccarino said while presenting a poster at the annual congress of the European Society of Cardiology.

"Once a person is identified with a history of childhood trauma, that person needs to be monitored very closely. Our data [suggest] that childhood trauma may be a key history to ask about," said Dr. Vaccarino, a professor of medicine and epidemiology at Emory University, Atlanta.

The study by Dr. Vaccarino and her associates used 360 male twins (180 pairs, either mono-or dizygotic) who were born in 1946-1956 and were enrolled in the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. The participants were all interviewed at Emory University. They were assessed using the Early Trauma Inventory (ETI), a measure of traumatic events occurring before age 18 years, and the Late Trauma Inventory (LTI), a measure of traumatic events that occur when a person is aged 18 years or older. Physical health was as- sessed by examination, and mental health was assessed with the Structured Clinical Interview for Psychiatric Disorders. In all, 33 participants were diagnosed with coronary heart disease (CHD), 82 were diagnosed with major depressive disorder, and 23 had posttraumatic stress disorder.

The participants were divided into quartiles based on their ETI scores.

The analysis showed that the men in the three lowest ETI quartiles had a 6% prevalence of CHD compared with an 18% rate in the quartile with the highest ETI score. When adjusted for age and smoking history, the men in the highest quartile for childhood trauma had about a twofold increased rate of CHD, compared with men with lower ETI scores, a statistically significant difference. …

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