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Severe infection and autoimmune disease are associated with increased risk of mood disorders

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Question: Does autoimmune disease or severe infection increase the risk of a mood disorder?

People: 3.56 million people identified through the Danish Civil Registration System who were born between January 1945 and December 1996. Participants who had hospital contact because of infections or autoimmune disease up to the age of 65 years were followed up for hospital contacts for mood disorders from their 16th birthday up until 31 December 2010.

Setting: Denmark, January 1977–December 2010.

Risk factors: Autoimmune diseases or severe infections as coded in the Danish National Hospital Registry (ICD-10 and ICD-8). Infections included sepsis, hepatitis, gastrointestinal infections, skin infections, pregnancy-related infections, respiratory infections, urogenital infections and central nervous system infections (HIV or AIDS were excluded). A person was classified as having an autoimmune disease if they had one or more of 30 listed conditions, which were further subdivided into those with and without suspected presence of brain-reactive antibodies. Initial onset of autoimmune disease or infection was defined as the first inpatient or …

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  • Sources of funding: Stanley Medical Research Institute and National Institute of Mental Health (NIH grant 2T32HL007713-21).


  • Competing interests None.